Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi presented a bold and ambitious Railway Budget 2012-13 in Parliament, giving importance to passengers' safety, security and amenities. Here is the Railway Budget at a glance:
Railway Budget presented by Dinesh Trivedi seeks to raise investment in modernization and upgradation of rail infrastructure. It gives very high priority to rail safety and security. Passenger fares have been increased marginally. He proposed a Budget with highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 60,100 crore, out of which Rs. 6,872 crore would be spent for new railway lines and significant funds for passengers safety, security and amenities.
In this Budget, the Railway Minister focused on five important fields - Safety; Consolidation; Decongestion & Capacity Augmentation; Modernization; and to bring down the Operating Ratio from 95% to 84.9% in 2012-13.
The Railway Minister proposes to increase passenger fare by 2 paise per km for suburban and ordinary second class; 3 paise per km for mail/express second class; 5 paise per km for sleeper class; 10 paise per km for AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier and First Class; 15 paise per km for AC 2 tier and 30 paise per km for AC I. The fares will be rounded off to the next nearest five rupees and the minimum fares and platform tickets to be increased to Rs. 5 from Rs.3.
In the Railway Budget, the Minister proposed 75 new Express trains, 21 new passenger services, 9 DEMU services and 8 MEMU services. Shri Trivedi also announced the extension of the 39 trains; increase in the frequency of 23 trains; 75 additional services to run in Mumbai suburban; 44 new suburban services to be introduced in Kolkata area; 50 new services to be introduced in Kolkata Metro; and 18 additional services to be run in Chennai area.
The Railway Budget also provides for 50% concession in fare in AC-2, AC-3, Chair Car & Sleeper classes to patients suffering from 'Aplastic Anaemia' and 'Sickle Cell Anaemia'. It also provides for extending the facility of travel by Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to Arjuna Awardees. The travel distance under 'Izzat Scheme' has also been increased from 100 kms to 150 kms.
Proposing highest ever plan outlay for the Railway Budget, the Railway Minister said that it will be financed through Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs 24,000 crore; Railway Safety Fund of Rs 2,000 crore; internal resources of Rs 18,050 crore; and Extra Budgetary Resources of Rs 16,050 crore, which includes market borrowing of Rs 15,000 crore through IRFC.
The Railway Budget provides for 725 km new lines; 700 km doubling; 800 km gauge conversion and 1,100 km electrification. Rs 6,872 crore have been provided for new lines; Rs 3,393 crore for doubling; Rs 1,950 crore for gauge conversation and Rs 828 crore have been provided for electrification.
The Railway Budget 2012-13 lays emphasis on safety and security of the passengers. Trivedi said that drawing from the recommendations of the Anil Kakodkar and Sam Pitroda Committees, he has chosen five focus areas namely: Track; Bridges; Signalling & Telecommunication; Rolling Stock; and Stations and Freight Terminals. Under this a Railway Safety Authority has been proposed as statutory regulatory body; Missions will be created to implement the modernization programme; and setting up of a Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority is to be considered. Two new Board Members (Safety/Research and PPP/Marketing) are to be inducted.
Trivedi also announced the setting up of a Rail-Road Grade Separation Corporation to eliminate level crossings. Three 'Safety Villages' proposed to set up at Bengaluru, Kharagpur and Lucknow for skill development for disaster management. The Railway Minister also announced that an Indian Railway Station Development Corporation would be set up to redevelop stations through PPP mode. He also announced that a Logistics Corporation will be set up for development & management of existing railway goods sheds and multi-modal logistics parks. A National High Speed Rail Authority is also to be set-up.
Highlighting the efforts being made to improve the amenities and to provide better experience to the passengers at stations, the Railway Minister said that 929 stations will be upgraded as Adarsh Stations including 84 stations proposed in 2012-13. Specially designed coaches for differently-abled persons will be provided in each Mail/Express trains. RPF helpline will be integrated with the All India Passenger Helpline. SMS on passenger mobile phone in case of e-ticket will be accepted as proof of valid reservation.
Satellite based real time train information system (SIMRAN) will be introduced to provide train running information to passengers through SMS, internet, etc. On board passenger displays indicating next halt station and expected arrival time will be introduced. 321 escalators will be installed at important stations of which 50 will be commissioned in 2012-13. Regional cuisine will be introduced at affordable rates.
The Railway Minister also announced launching of 'Book-a-meal' scheme to provide multiple choice of meals through SMS or email. Coin/currency operated ticket vending machines will be introduced during 2012-13. Rail Bandhu on-board magazines will be distributed on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Duronto trains. The Railway Budget 2012-13 also proposes setting up of AC Executive lounges at important stations.
The Railway Minister announced that pre-feasibility studies on six high speed corridors have already been completed and study on Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur will be taken up in 2012-13.
Announcing the measures for the welfare of railway employees, the Minister proposed a wellness programme for railway staff at their work places; ensuring proper rest for skilled and technical staff including the running crew; and institution of 'Rail Khel Ratna' Award for 10 rail sports-persons every year.
Caring for the environment, the Railway Minister announced the introduction of a 'Green Train' to run through the pristine forests of North Bengal; 200 remote railway stations will be set up as 'green energy stations' powered entirely by solar energy; solar lighting system will be provided at 1,000 manned level crossing gates; 2,500 coaches will be equipped with bio toilets. Trivedi also announced setting up of 72 MW capacity windmill plants in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The Minister said that during 2011-12 the railways recruited over 80,000 persons to fill up various vacancies; now he proposes to recruit over one lakh persons during 2012-13 so that backlog of SC/ST/OBC and other categories will be wiped off.
The Minister announced that freight loading during 2012-13 is expected to be 1,025 MT which will be 55 MT more than 2011-12. The passenger growth during the year is pegged at 5.4%.