Highlights of the Railway Budget 2016 – 17

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second Railway Budget on 25th February, 2016 with the theme Reorganize, Restructure Rejuvenate Indian Railways: ‘Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen’.

3 strategies to revitalise Indian Railways

  1. Nav Arjan – New revenues
  2. Nav Manak – New norms
  3. Nav Sanrachna – New Structures

Financial Performance:

  1. 2015-16- Ordinary Working Expenses (OWE) decreased in the revised estimates (RE) to Rs.1,10,690 crore from Rs.1,19,410, leading to savings to the tune of Rs.8,720 crore and offsetting most of the revenue shortfall. Hence, the expected Operating Ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenue) in RE is 90% vi-a-vis 91.3% in 2014-15.
  2. 2016-17- The targeted OR this year has been set at 92%, considering the immediate impact of the 7th Pay Commission and reductions planned in diesel and electricity consumption. The aim is to curtail OWE by 11.6%. The aim is to achieve a revenue target of Rs.1,84,820 crore.

Steps to improve quality of travel

For unreserved passengers –

  • Antyodaya Express – A long-distance, fully unreserved superfast service.
  • Deen Dayalu coaches – Two-four of these unreserved coaches will be added to a few long-distance trains with amenities like potable water and more mobile charging points.

For reserved passengers-

  • Humsafar – A fully air-conditioned, third AC service with an optional service for meals.
  • Tejas – Showcasing the future of train travel in India with a speed of 130 kmph and above, this train will have on-board services such as entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi, etc.
  • UDAY – Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri Express (UDAY) will ply on the busiest routes and will be an overnight double-decker.

Steps to ease the ticketing process

  • e-ticketing facility will be compatible with debit/credit cards. Bar-coded tickets, scanners will be provided at major stations on a pilot basis to curb ticketless travel.
  • Broadening of Vikalp scheme – The expanded scheme will provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to waitlisted passengers.
  • CCTV coverage will be made mandatory at tatkaal counters to improve the service along with periodic audit of the PRS website.

Towards Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat

  • To achieve this objective, the ‘Clean my Coach’ service through SMS will cover the whole of India.
  • Ranking of A1 and A stations based on periodic third party audit and passenger feedback.
  • Waste segregation and recycling centres will be established.
  • An additional 30,000 bio-toilets will be installed.

More ticketing stops from now on!

The Railway Minister proposed to convert all operational/technical halts into commercial halts in order to increase patronage and benefit the common man.

For e.g.: Passengers can board/alight at Bhusaval, Igatpuri and Kasara, which are the operational halts for the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express.

Rail Mitra Sewa

  • The Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway will be expanded to help disabled and old passengers.
  • Steps will be taken to help passengers book battery-operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis.

Doing it the SMART way

In order to improve comfort of passengers, Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel (SMART) coaches will be designed. These will have increased carrying capacity, automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED advertising boards, etc.

Improving customer interface

The following steps have been taken to ensure fulfilment of customer needs:

1. GPS-based digital displays inside coaches.

2. Installation of a high-tech centralised network of 20,000 screens across 2000 stations.

3. Pilgrimage centres:

  • Provision of passenger amenities and beautification of stations that are also major pilgrimage sites, including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco
  • Plying Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres.

4. High Speed Rail: High-speed passenger corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai is underway.

5. Entertainment:

  • To invite FM Radio stations for entertainment in trains.
  • Extend ‘Rail Bandhu’ to all reserved classes of travellers and in all regional languages.

Upgrade suburban rail services in major metros

  • Approval for MUTP III.
  • Elevated suburban corridors between Churchgate-Virar and between CSTM-Panvel.
  • Reviving the Ring Railway system in Delhi
  • Development in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.

Winning back the lost modal share

  1. Expanding the freight basket of IR – To start time-tabled freight container, parcel and special commodity trains on a pilot basis.
  2. Rationalising the tariff structure –
  • Undertake review of tariff policy.
  • Permit multi-point loading/unloading and apply differentiated tariffs.

3. Building terminal capacity –

  • To develop Rail side logistics parks and warehousing in PPP mode
  • Inaugurate India’s first rail auto hub in Chennai.
  • Development of cold storage facilities on vacant land near freight terminals.

Navarambh – Plans for a fresh start

  1. Navinikaran (Structural Interventions): The Minister proposed to reorganise the Railway Board by setting up cross-functional directorates in the board and bolstering PPP cell to improve ease of doing business with IR.
  2. Sashaktikaran (Improving planning):
  • To set up a Railway Planning & Investment Organisation for drafting medium (5 years) and long (10 years) term corporate plans.
  • To prepare a National Rail Plan.

3. Aekikaran (Consolidation): To form a holding company of companies owned by IR.

4. Shodh aur vikas (Investing in the future): To set up an R&D organisation-Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement (SRESTHA).

5. Vishleshan (Analysing data): To set up a cross-functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) to conduct detailed analytics that will result in enhanced investment decisions and operations.

6. Navrachna (Innovation): To provide innovation grants to employees, start-ups and small businesses.

Avataran – Seven Missions to transform IR

  • Mission 25 Tonne for 25 tonne axle load
  • Mission Zero Accident for safety
  • Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency)
  • Mission Raftaar for high speed train services
  • Mission Hundred for commissioning 100 sidings/ freight terminals
  • Mission Beyond Book Keeping for accounting reforms
  • Mission Capacity Utilisation to prepare a blueprint for making use of the capacity

Sustainability and Social Initiatives

  • To tie up with the Ministry of Health for exchange between Railways hospitals and Government hospitals.
  • Introduce ‘AYUSH’ systems in 5 Railway hospitals
  • To provide toilets and air-conditioning in cabs for loco pilots.
  • To reduce energy consumption in non-traction area by 10% to 15% with the use of LED lights.
  • Action plan drawn up for environmental accreditation, water management and waste to energy conversion. More than 2,000 locations provided with Rain Water Harvesting facility.
  • Using composite sleepers made of recycled plastic waste will be used.
  • 32 stations and 10 coaching depots have been identified for installation of water recycling plants in the coming years.

Tourism:

  • Partnering with state governments for operating tourist circuit trains
  • Upgrading National Rail Museum, promoting tourism through railway museums and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • To spread awareness about our national animal (the tiger), provide complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh.

Other salient efforts

1. Measures for the differently-abled: Steps will be taken to provide at least one Divyang-friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations along with sufficient provision of wheelchairs.

2. Travel Insurance to passengers: Plans to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.

3. Janani Sewa: Children’s menu items on trains.

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