Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presented his maiden Railway Budget 2013-14 in Parliament on Tuesday, emphasing on modernization, providing better facilities to passengers especially women.
There were speculations ahead of the Railway Budget presentation that Bansal might hike passenger fares owing to the recent hike in diesel prices. But he chose not to disappoint the common man by keeping the fares unchanged. He did, however, marginally increase the fares on Tatkal reservation and superfast trains.
No bold steps were taken and only a few new lines were proposed in the budget. The railway minister emphasized more on safety, consolidation, passenger amenities and fiscal discipline.
Here is are the highlights of the Railway Budget 2013-14:
Measures to Improve Safety and Security
- Building new bridges to replace the 17 distressed ones in the next one year.
- Elimination of 10797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and no addition of level crossings in the future.
- Introduction of Train Protection Warning System on Automatic Signalling Systems and rigorous trials of the indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System.
- Using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail panels and improved flash butt welding technology and induction of crash worthy Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches with anti-climb feature.
- Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains.
- Making a Corporate Safety Plan for a ten year period (2014-2024).
- Provision of comprehensive fire and smoke detection systems, portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains and use of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.
- Measures to deal with elephant related accidents.
- Four companies of women RPF personnel set up and another 8 to be set up to strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially women passengers. For this, 10% vacancies in RPF will be reserved for women.
- Cleanliness drive in shortlisted 104 important stations and progressive extension of bio-toilets on trains.
- Provision of concrete aprons on platforms with mechanized cleaning facilities.
- Extension of On Board Housekeeping Scheme and Clean Train Stations to more stations and trains.
- Extension of Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs) and scheme of Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBSs).
- Setting up of six more Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
- Pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for coach cleanliness and real time feedback.
- Eight to ten more mechanized laundries for quality washing of linen.
- Provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains.
- Providing free Wi-Fi facilities on several trains.
- Upgrading another 60 stations as Adarsh Stations in addition to 980 already selected.
- Associate voluntary organizations for providing first aid services at railway stations.
- Introduction of an 'Anubhuti' coach in select trains to provide excellent ambience and latest facilities and services.
- 179 escalators and 400 lifts at A-1 and other major stations to be installed facilitating elderly and differently abled.
- Affixing Braille stickers with layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly.
- Some Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewak (JTBS) to be reserved for disabled people.
- Curbing malpractices in reserved tickets including tatkal scheme.
- Third party audit and tie up with food testing laboratories for food quality control; ISO certified state-of-the-art base kitchens to be set up in railway premises.
- Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell set up with a toll free number (1800 111 3211800 111 321)
- 67 new Express trains, 26 new passenger services, 8 DEMU services and 5 MEMU services to be introduced.
- Run of 57 trains to be extended.
- Frequency of 24 trains to be increased.
New Rail-Based Industries Proposed
- New Forged Wheel Factory at Rae Bareli in collaboration with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited.
- Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara (Rajasthan) in collaboration with State Government and BHEL.
- Coach Manufacturing Unit in Sonepat District (Haryana) in collaboration with State Government.
- Midlife Rehabilitation Workshop at Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) in collaboration with the State Government.
- Bikaner and Pratapgarh workshops to undertake POH of BG wagons.
- Workshop for repair and rehabilitation of motorized bogies at Misrod (Madhya Pradesh).
- New wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi (Odisha).
- Modern signaling equipment facility at Chandigarh through PPP route.
- Setting up of Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) to harness potential of solar and wind energy.
- Setting up of 75 MW capacity windmill plants and energizing 1000 level crossings with solar power.
- Deployment of new generation energy efficient electric locomotives and EMUs.
- More usage of agro-based and recycled paper and ban use of plastic in catering.
- Launching multi-modal travel package in cooperation with Jammu & Kashmir state government.
- Issuing 'Yatra Parchis' to pilgrims travelling by rail to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine at the time of railway ticket booking.
- Introduction of an educational tourist train with concessional fares - 'Azadi Express' - to connect places associated with freedom movement.
- Introduction of executive lounge at seven more stations, namely, Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru.
- 'Aadhar' to be used for various passenger and staff related services, which will enhance internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours.
- To facilitate e-ticketing through mobile phones and project of SMS alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status.
- Covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System.
- Next-Gen e-ticketing system to be rolled out capable of handling 7200 tickets per minute against 2000 now & 1.20 lakh users simultaneously against 40,000 now.
Financial Performance 2012-13
- Loading target revised to 1007 MT against 1025 MT in BE.
- Gross Traffic Receipts fixed at ₹1, 25,680 cr in RE, short by ₹6,872 cr over Budget Estimates.
- Ordinary Working Expenses retained at BE level of ₹84,400 cr; pension payments increased by ₹1,500 cr to ₹20,000 cr.
- Dividend liability to government to be fully discharged.
- 'Excess' of ₹10,409 cr as against the budget amount of ₹15,557 cr.
- Loan of ₹3,000 cr taken in 2011-12 fully repaid along with interest.
- Operating Ratio of 88.8% as compared to 94.9% in 2011-12.
Budget Estimates 2013-14
- Freight loading of 1047 MT, 40 MT more than 2012-13.
- Passenger growth - 5.2%.
- Gross Traffic Receipts - ₹1,43,742 cr i.e. an increase of ₹18,062 cr over RE, 2012-13.
- Ordinary Working Expenses - ₹96,500 cr.
- Appropriation to DRF at ₹7,500 cr and to Pension Fund at ₹22,000 cr.
- Dividend payment estimated at ₹6,249 cr.
- Operating Ratio to be 87.8%.
- Fund Balances to exceed ₹12,000 cr.
Annual Plan 2013-14
- Highest ever plan outlay of ₹63363 cr.
- 500 km new lines, 750 km doubling, 450 km gauge conversion targeted in 2013-14. Fiscal Discipline
- No supplementary Demands for Grants introduced in Monsoon Session or Winter Session of Parliament;
- Loan of ₹3,000 cr repaid fully;
- 347 projects prioritized with assured funding;
- Operationally important projects and also last mile projects to receive liberal funding;
- A new fund - Debt Service Fund - set up to meet committed liabilities;
- Stringent targets for efficiencies in maintenance of rolling stock and fuel consumption;
- Target to create fund balance of ₹30,000 cr in the terminal year of the 12th Plan.
- Fund allocation for staff quarters enhanced to ₹300 cr.
- Provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all divisional headquarters.
- Extending treatment facility in case of medical emergency to RELHS beneficiaries to all cities in hospitals empanelled with CGHS and Railways.
- Condition of barracks to be improved for RPF personnel.
- Provision of water closets and air conditioners in the locomotive cabs to avoid stress being faced by loco pilots.
Training and Recruitment
- 1.52 lakh vacancies being filled up this year out of which 47000 vacancies have been earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged.
- Imparting skills to the youth in railway related trades in 25 locations. Setting up of a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for training in rail related electronics technologies.
- Setting up of a centralized training institute at Secunderabad - Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM).
- Five fellowships in national universities to be instituted to motivate students to study and undertake research on IR related issues at M.Phil and Ph.D. levels.
- Setting up of a chair at TERI promoting railway related research to reduce carbon footprint.
- Railway Teams won 9 National Championships in 2012.
- Railway Sports Promotion Board awarded the 'Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar - 2012'.
- Complimentary card passes to recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna & Dhyan Chand Awards to be valid for travel by 1st Class/2nd AC.
- Complimentary card passes to Olympic Medalists and Dronacharya Awardees for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains.
- Travel by Duronto Trains permitted on all card passes issued to sportpersons having facility of travel by Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains.
- Facility of complimentary card passes valid in 1st class/2nd AC extended to parents of posthumous unmarried awardees of Mahavir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, President's Police Medal for Gallantry and Police Medal for Gallantry.
- Police Gallantry awardees to be granted one complimentary pass every year for travel along with one companion in 2nd AC in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains.
- Passes for freedom fighters to be renewed once in three years.
Metropolitan Projects/Sub-urban Services
- Introduction of first AC EMU rake on Mumbai suburban network in 2013-14.
- Introduction of 72 additional services in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata.
- Rake length increased from 9 cars to 12 cars for 80 services in Kolkata and 30 services in Chennai.
- Proposal for setting up of Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority formulated and at inter-ministerial consultation stage.
- Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC) linked revision for freight tariff to be implemented from 1st April 2013.
- Supplementary charges for super fast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge marginally increased.
- Enhanced reservation fee abolished.
Achievements and Initiatives of Indian Railways
- 'Fuel Adjustment Component' concept to be implemented linking tariffs with movement of fuel prices.
- Target of ₹1000 crore each fixed for Rail Land Development Authority and IR Station Development Corporation to be raised through PPP in 2013-14.
- Indian Railways enters the one billion tonne Select Club joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways;
- Indian Railways also joins Select Club running freight trains of more than 10000 tonne load;
- New fund - Debt Service Fund - to be set up to meet committed liabilities of debt servicing for WB and JICA loans for DFC and other future liabilities.