A Budget for the Passengers


A Budget for the Passengers

Articles / Business & Technology   /   Feb 27, 2015
karuna Gupta
karuna Gupta
She is a writer. She has done post-graduation in Political Science from Delhi University. She likes writing news stories, blogs and articles. She also likes to analyze political and international events and write stories on them. She wishes to bring a change to the lives of women by attracting the attention of leaders as well as society at large through her articles. Truth is what she stands for.

Image courtesy: http://goo.gl/LkmhLD

The Modi government’s maiden Railway budget did not launch any new trains or increase the fares but it promised to make the journey safer and comfortable for the passengers.

The Railway Minister, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, proposed many passenger-friendly proposals including:

·  SMS alerts on arrivals and departures of trains.

·  Hand-held terminals for TTEs for verifications and charts.

·  Online ordering of wheelchairs for the elderly and the disabled.

·  Provision for Wi-Fi facility in 400 stations.

·  User-friendly ladders for upper berths.

·  17,000 bio-tiolets.

·  Ticket booking 120 days in advance.

·  Those travelling with unreserved tickets will be able to buy a ticket within 5 minutes.

To step up security:

·  Mobile app being developed to redress complaints.

·  Radio-based signal project to be taken up with IIT Kanpur for alerts at unmanned level crossing.

Keeping women in mind:

·  Nirbhaya fund to be used for augmenting security of women passengers.

·  Surveillance cameras in select mainline coaches and women’s coaches in suburban trains, without intruding into privacy.

For a smooth functioning:

·  Five-year safety plan to be framed by June 2015.

·  Recommendations of Kakodkar Safety Committee to be examined by April.

·  Geo-spatial technology to be used to  provide audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings.

·  Train Collision Avoidance System to be installed on select routes.

Fund allotment:

The fund allotment for passenger amenities has been increased by 67%, said Mr. Prabhu. He requested corporates, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charitable institutions and religious bodies to come forward and invest generously for passenger amenities from their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds.

Mr. Prabhu said that Indian Railways has to go through a transformation over the next five years citing customer experience, safety, capacity expansion and financial sustainability as the goals.
In order to achieve this aim, the Minister emphasized on partnerships, and indicated that Rs. 8.5 lakh crore would be invested in the next five years. 

Mr. Prabhu said his target for 2015-16 is an operating ratio-a key metric that shows the percentage of money spent upon the percentage of money earned-88.5%. It was 91.8% in 2014-15 and 93.6% in 2013-14. He said it would be the best operating ratio in the last nine years.
Fresh revenues were raised through an increase in freight rates on coal, iron ore and steel that will be operational from April 1. It will bring about Rs.4000 crore.

It was also made clear from the budget that Railways would be an integral part of Prime Minister Modi’s pet schemes such as Swachh Bharat, Make in India and Digital India. This, according to Vishwas Udgirkar, Senior Director, Deloitte in India, shows that “the Railway Budget is not a document in isolation.”

Suresh Prabhu said, “Our priority will be to improve capacity on high-density networks, emphasis will be on gauge conversion, doubling or tripling and electrification. I am convinced we can deliver.”

The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi. The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi.
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