NEW DELHI:  After managing people’s expectations with his statement that “everything can’t be done in an year”, Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu presents his maiden Rail Budget in the parliament.

Here are the highlights of the Rail Budget 2015:

  • I thank the Prime Minister for giving me this opportunity of serving the people of India.
  • Madam, the Railways is a web of veins which pumps blood into the heart of India’s economy.
  • Investment in Indian Railways is necessary for environment sustainability and well-being of future generations.
  • Railways carry a heavy burden of expectations; citizens often not aware of constraints the Railways operate under.
  • Railway has suffered from a vicious cycle of underinvestment for a long time leading to deterioration.
  • “Kuch naya jorhna hoga, Kuch purana torhna hoga… Kuch raaste badalne honge… kuch dishayen dhoondni hongi”
  • The people of India will own Railways always.

Over the next 5 years, the railways will have to transform. We have 4 goals to meet.

  1. Measureable customer experience – cleanliness, facilities
  2. Make Rails a safer way to travel
  3. Expand capacity substantially and modernize infrastructure
  4. Make ‘Bhartiya Rail’ financially self-sustainable
  • Transforming Railways will require us to partner with key stakeholders. We will work with the states.
  • We have fixed goals for ourselves, and are convinced that we can deliver.

The 5 drives of the Rail Budget 2015

  • Adopting a medium-term perspective
  • Building partnerships
  • Leveraging additional resources
  • Revamping management practices, systems, processes and re-tooling of human resources.
  • To set standards for governance and transparency.

Let me now turn to the 11 thrust areas of our action plan.   

  • No change in passenger fares. No hike.
  • Cleanliness is of prime importance, Integrated cleaning up will be taken up. This will include private agencies.
  • We will bring over 600 new toilets.
  • This year alone, we plan to replace 17,000 old toilets.
  • I urge to all the people, railways is your traveling home, please keep it clean.
  • Private sector to be roped in to modernise stations  Banks, pension funds keen to invest in Railways.
  • 8.5 lakh crore investment in Railways in the next 5 years.\
  • Priority to significantly improve capacity over next 5 years.
  • All India 24×7 helpline number 138 to become operational to address passenger complaints on a real-time basis. This will be started in Northern Railways from April 1 and to be extended across India soon.
  • SMS alert services for passengers to inform them about arrival and departure of trains.
  • Facility to book wheelchairs for senior citizens online.
  • Mobile charging facilities in general compartments , Wi-Fi in Category B stations.
  • Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments.
  • More general class coaches will be added to select trains for benefit of the common man.
  • We have approached NIFT and NID for better bed rolls, inner coach designs to make upper berths more accessible.
  • All newly manufactured coaches to be braille enabled.
  • On-board entertainment to be introduced in some Shatabdi trains.
  • We will introduce train sets saving 20% journey time, similar to bullet trains in design, can run on existing tracks.
  • Rs. 120 crore have been provided for lifts and escalators on railway stations.
  • We want our Railway Stations to be iconic structures reflecting the culture of that place: Union Minister Suresh Prabhu.
  • 67% more funds – as compared to last year – have been allotted for passenger amenities.
  • We are committed to provide Rail connectivity to north eastern states; Meghalaya has been finally brought on the Railways’ map.
  • Satellite railway terminals in major cities. Fast track highest priority works.
    Investment 84% higher; 77 new projects -Doubling, tripling, quadrupling and electrification.
  • Railways must expand freight carrying capacity.
  • Transport Logistic Corporation of India to be set up to aid expanding freight handling capaity and provide end-to-end logistic solutions.
  • 1330% increase in railway electrification over previous year.
  • To check the movement of empty freight trains, automatic freight rebate system launched and to will be expanded.
  • The loading density in almost all major freight trains to be upgraded which will bring immediate results.
  • Safety is of paramount importance.
  • I offer my condolences the families of all the people deceased in railway accidents and the people who lost their lives in the line of duty.
  • Audio-based warnings at unmanned railway crossings.
  • We are considering new and lighter design of wagons.
  • Improving train speed from existing 110 and 130 to 160 and 200 kms respectively so that inter-metro journey – like Delhi to Mumbai – can be completed overnight.
  • Technological upgrades are important for any organisation.
  • We propose to set up, an innovation council for overall innovation of the Indian Railways.
  • We will launch a new mobile application called ‘Kayakalp’ to help in technology upgradation.
  • ‘Window to book railway tickets raised from 60 to 120 days’.
  • Malaviya Chair of Railway Technology in IIT-n BHU in Varanasi.
  • Improvement to management process and systems.
  • Railways will require new governance structure. For quick decision making.
  • 917 safety work projects to eliminate over 3,000 unmanned crossings in all states. SRO,
  • RDSO, IIT Kanpur to help provide facilities for safety at unmanned level crossings
  • Rules and regulation governing freight will be simplified and made more customer-friendly.
  • We propose to get a system audit conducted across the country.
  • We also propose to get out train operations audited in the next two months.
  • We propose to spend Rs. 96,182 Crore on capacity expansion in FY16.
  • Next is energy and sustainability.
  • Environment Directorate in Railway Board.
  • Railway is the largest consumer of electricity.
  • Detailed energy audit to reveal areas to save power.
  • Open bidding for sourcing electricity.
  • Sourcing of solar power. Work in full swing.
  • We propose to launch, water conservation and water harvesting plants.
  • CNG based demo have been started in Northern Railways.
  • Transparency and governance.
  • We recruit through 21 institutes.
  • Online application for recruitment to be expanded.
  • We propose a ‘Mechanism’ to manage and monitor tariff, solving licensing disputes and setting performance goals.
  • This year we are celebrating 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa. We will promote Gandhi Circle for tourism.
  • I will personally monitor all the thrust areas. I am confident that I have the support of 13 lakh employees.
  • The audit for introducing new trains will be completed soon. We will be able to announce new trains in the current session of the parliament.
  • Will fulfill PM’s vision for Railways, ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat‘.