Current Affairs

Rail Budget 2014: Will this dormant economic engine chug ahead?

GoaChronicle.com details and analysis on the Rail Budget 2014 presented by the Union Minister for Railway Sadanand Gowda…


The major achievements and initiatives of the Union Ministry of Railways

1. Major landmark achievement in National Project of Kashmir –

2. State of Meghalaya and capital of Arunachal Pradesh to be on Railway map by this fiscal.

3. Gauge Conversion of strategically important 510 km Rangiya – Murkongselek line in Assam to be completed by this fiscal.

4. XIth Five Year Plan Targets exceeded in New Lines (2,207 km) , Doubling (2,758 km) and Electrification (4,556 km), Production of Diesel  (1,288) & Electrical (1,218) Locos and Acquisition of Wagons (64,875)

5. Dedicated Freight Corridors on the Eastern and Western Routes – leading to strategically critical capacity augmentation.

6. Railways met from its own means the total additional impact of Rs one lakh crore due to implementation of 6th Pay Commission

7. In 2013-14, 1532 km of New Lines, Doubling and Gauge Conversion commissioned.

8. Production commenced at the new factories – Rail Wheel Plant, Chhapra ; Rail Coach Factory, Rae Bareli ; and Diesel Component Factory, Dankuni.

9. Specially designed coaches for adverse weather condition for rail travel in Kashmir.

10. Successful development of Corrosion resistant, lighter wagons with higher pay-load and speed potential upt 100kmph.

11. Unigauge Policy started in 1992 has converted 19,214 km to Broad Gauge, benefitting several States including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Tamil Nadu.

Major Announcement:

1. Bullet train proposed on identified Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector. The railway minister has said that bullet trains are a priority. Other sectors for proposed high speed trains are: Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Goa-Mumbai, Chennai-Hyderabad, Delhi-Kanpur and Delhi-Pathankot and Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Nagpur-Secundrabad. The trains will run at 160-200 kmph

2. 5 Jan Sadharan, 5 Premium, 27 Express trains to be introduced

3. Mobile based wake up calls for passengers will be introduced

4. Introduction pre-cooked ready to eat meals of reputed brands in a phased manner:Rail Minister

5. CCTVs to be used at stations for monitoring cleanliness at railway stations; third party inspections to be introduced

6. 23 projects underway in north-east. Rs. 5,100 crore for northeast projects

7. Ladies coaches to be escorted by women RPF constables; security for ladies travelling alone

8. Summer internship programmes with Railways proposed for engineering and MBA students

9. Some stations to be developed to international standards through PPP model

10. A special train featuring life of Vivekananda will be introduced

11. Lines to Kedarnath, Badrinath explored

12. Proposition to outsource cleaning at 50 stations

13. Provision of Rs 1,785 crore for road-over/under bridges, multi-pronged approach to eliminate unmanned level crossings

Measures for improving Safety & Security: 

The railway minister has also taken steps to ensure safety and security of passengers:

1. A total of 5,400 unmanned level crossings eliminated – 2,310 by manning it and 3,090 by closure / merger / construction of ROBs or RUBs.

2. Improved audio–visual warning to road users in advance of approaching trains.

3. Induction of indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System

4. Development of ‘crashworthy’ coaches

5. In last five years, offering employment to over one lakh persons in Group C categories and to 1.6 lakh persons in erstwhile Group D categories.

6. Provision of Vigilance Control Device in all locomotives

7. Various measures to prevent fire incidents on trains –
Ø  Fire retardant materials
Ø  Multi-tier protection for electric circuits
Ø  Portable fire extinguishers in coaches
Ø  Induction based cooking to replace LPG in pantry cars
Ø  Intensive checks against explosives and inflammable materials.

Financial Health:

Rail infrastructure by cost sharing arrangement with State Governments; Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana agreed to several projects

1. Several Public Private Partnerships (PPP) projects are in the pipeline.

2. FDI being enabled to foster creation of world-class rail infrastructure.

3. Rail Land Development Authority raised Rs 937 crore so far.

Modernisation and Technology Induction·

The minister also announced that the government is working on the possibility of bringing High Speed Trains in the country.

1. Joint feasibility study by India and Japan for Mumbai – Ahmedabad Corridor to be co-financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency

2. Business Development Study by SNCF for Mumbai – Ahmedabad corridor.

3. Semi- High Speed Projects
–  Exploring low cost option of speeds 160- 200 kmph on select routes

4. Trains will be equipped with wireless internet

5. Future E-Ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute & to allow 120,000 simultaneous users

Green Initiatives

The Railway Minister also announced government’s plan to use green energy in the railways.

The minister, while presenting the budget said that windmill and solar power plants will be set up with 40% subsidy from Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. Other initiatives to be taken by the government are:

1. 200 Stations, rooftops of 26 buildings and 2,000 level crossing gates to be covered.

2. Railways bagged 22 out of 112 awards given by the Government.

3. ‘Green Curtains’ along the track close to major stations; Pilot work at Agra and Jaipur

4. Coverage of Bio-toilets in 2,500 coaches and would be increased progressively.

Passenger Friendly Initiatives·

1. Overwhelming public response to e-booking of ticket

2. On-line tracking of exact location and running of train movements

3. 51 Jan-Ahaar outlets for Janta Meals ; 48 passenger escalators commisionsed at stations and 61 more being installed ; air-conditioned EMU services in Mumbai from July 2014 ; information display system in important trains to indicate stations & arrival time.

4. ‘Upgradation’ scheme extended to AC Chair Car and Executive Chair car passengers.

5. Demand Management through Dynamic Pricing      

6. Premium AC Special train introduced in Delhi – Mumbai Sector with shorter advance reservation period and dynamically varying premium over tatkal fare

7. Enhancing Market Share· Clearing missing links in Carrying Capacity + 8 tonne routes; freight train speeding ; upgradation of rolling stock ; increasing length of trains ; tariff and incentive schemes to encourage traffic to rail and minimizing empty running.

8. Rail Tariff Authority Independent – Rail Tariff Authority set-up to advise on fixing of fares and freight, to engage all stake-holders

9. Information Technology -Initiatives taken include – proliferation of cash accepting Automatic Ticket Vending Machines ; ticketing on mobile phones in unreserved segments ; system update on PNR status; online booking of retiring rooms at important stations ; online booking of meals for selected en-route stations ; introduction of e-forwarding note and electronic transmission of railway receipts for freight customers

10. Revenue Freight Traffic: Loading target of 1047 Million Tonnes for 2013-14 would be surpassed

11. Empty Flow Discount Scheme to be implemented

12. Carrying Capacity + 9 tonne + 1 tonne routes being planned

13.Easing of some restrictions on movement of imported commodities through containers

14. Carrying capacity of 20 feet containers increased by 4 tonnes

15. Parcel Terminals & Special Parcel Trains with scheduled timings.

16. New policy on parcels to encourage transportation of milk.

17. New concept of ‘hub and spoke’ for parcel business

18. Third party warehousing in Special Parcel Terminals envisaged.

Financial Performance 2012-13:

1. Loading of 1,008 Million Tonnes surpassed the R.E. target of 1,007 Million Tonnes

2. Paid full dividend Rs 5,389 crore to General Exchequer

3. 90.2 per cent Operating Ratio in 2012-13

4. Repayment in full with interest of Rs 3,000 crore loan from the Government

5. Railway Fund Balances of Rs 2,391 crore

 

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