The rail budget for 2015-2019, also the maiden budget for the current railway minister was presented on Thursday, 26th Feb. 2015. While it is difficult it understand the entire nitty-gritty of the rail budget present, in the summary below the rail budget is presented that a common man understand what’s in it for him.
Thrust: These include the fundamental takeaways from the rail budget
- Indian Railways are being pushed to become the economical speed booster once again.
- Higher investments through resource mobilization
- Heavy-haul routes will be decongested and train speed to be increased. Emphasis will also be given for tripling, doubling, gauge conversion as well as electrification.
- Passenger Services to be made better, smoother and cheaper. Also, new amenities to be added.
- Faster project delivery.
- Safety for women passengers
- Improvement in the system and more transparency
- No change in the current transport mode, especially for masses.
One of the major punch points of the current rail budget was focusing on improving overall customer experience though measurable and sustained measures. Also, safety has been included as important criteria for the success of the rail budget. But how are all of the above actually going to materialize? For this the daily carrying capacity of has been increased to 30 million from 21 million. The track length has been increased to 138000 km from present 114000, 20 percent increase. The freight capacity has also been increased to 1.5 billion tons from current capacity of 1 billion tons.
So what’s new for the common traveler?
Indian railways are notorious for their lack of cleanliness. For this, a new department has been announced entirely dedicated for cleanliness and hygiene of the railways. Professional support has been announced from agencies for activities such as training rail staff. Bio-toilets will be launched converting bio-waste into energy and new toilets will be introduced that will cover additional 650 stations, apart from the current 120 stations.
Various innovative perks are being offered by the 2015 rail budget. The NIFT has been chosen to design the bed linen and bed rolls (disposable) shall be booked online. Also, a 24 x 7 helpline number (138) has been assigned for handling all emergency calls. For security associated complaints, another toll-free (182) has been assigned.
Selected Shatabdi trains will be given license for on-board entertainment. General class will also enjoy facilities such as ports for mobile charging and numbers are going to increase in sleeper coaches. Under the “Adarsh Scheme”, 200 extra coaches have been announced. B-category stations will be provided Wi-Fi. Now, wheel chair can also be booked online.
As per the proposed plan of investment for the rail budget 2015, 193000 crore has been allocated for network expansion which also includes electrification. 39000 crore have been allocated for national projects such as Kashmir and North Eastern connectivity. For safety issues (such as bridge works, track renewal, RUB, ROB, telecom and signaling) the rail budget has allocated 127000 crore. For IT and Research, 5000 crore have been allocated. For passenger amenities, 12500 crore have been allocated. For network decongestion the government has allocated 199320 crore. Rolling stock such as coaches, locomotives, production as well as maintenance took 102000 crore. Also, elevated corridor and high speed rail project were allotted 65000 crore. Investment sanctioned for logistic parks and station redeployment was 100000 crore. For other small scale developmental activities the government allocated 13200 crore. In sum, a total of 856020 crore was dedicated for the 2015-2019 railways development plan.