As he presents his first rail budget, Dinesh Trivedi has his task cut out. His focus, he says, is three-pronged: "Safety, safety, safety." Following very closely behind are consolidation, decongestion and modernisation.
So aided by poetry, quotable quotes and many mentions of his party chief and predecessor Mamata Banerjee, the railway minister today proposed the highest ever annual plan outlay for the railways at Rs 60,100 crore, of which Rs 50,000 crore he said, would be from market borrowing. Mr Trivedi's big emphasis is on safety. This would include setting up an independent Railway safety authority and phasing out level crossings in five years among other initiatives. Here are the Major highlights of the budget.
- Exp train fare up by 5 paise per km, 10 paise per km for AC chair car, 10 paise per km for AC 3-tier, 15 p per km for AC 2-tier, 30 paise per km for AC First class.
- No steep increase in passenger fares; 2 paisa per km for suburban trains; 3 paisa per km for mail and express trains.
Independent tariff authority suggested; needs serious debate; experts panel established; decision after debate in parliament.
- GRP/RPF personnel deployed on 3,500 trains.
Free travel by Rajdhani express for Arjuna awardees.
- Targeting freight carriage of 1,025 million tonnes to bring in Rs.89,339
crore; passenger earnings estimated at Rs.36,073 crore; gross receipts
estimated at Rs.1.32 lakh crore.
- Excess of Rs.1,492 crore after meeting expenses/dividend payments not adequate for meeting costs of several projects.
- Dedicated railway design wing at National Institute of Design with a contribution of Rs.10 crore.
- New passenger services: 820 new items; 75 new express trains; 21 new
passenger trains; 75 new services in Mumbai suburban system.
- Guru Parikrama trains to be run to Amritsar, Patna and Nanded.
- Passenger fare for sub-urban trains hiked by 2 paise per km, mail trains by 3 paise per km.
- Platform tickets to cost Rs five.
- 50 per cent concession in fare in AC classes to anaemia and sickle cell disease patients.
- Body of experts to examine setting up of an independent Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority
- No steep increase in passenger fares: Railway Minister.
- Finance Ministry agrees to loan Rs 3,000 crore to Railways at 8.55 per cent interest: Trivedi
- Gross rail traffic targeted to increase by Rs 28,635 crore to Rs 1,32,552 crore in 2012-13.
- Passenger earnings to increase to Rs 36,200 crore. Gross traffic receipts Rs 1,32,552 crore.
- Railways to carry 55 million tons more freight at 1025 million tonnes in 2012-13.
- Surplus with railways at Rs 1,492 crore in current year as against targeted Rs 5,258 crore.
- Expansion of suburban rail networks and addition of more services in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
- Guru Parikarma special trains to cover Sikh pilgrimage centres of Amritsar, Patna and Nanded.
- 75 new express passenger trains to be introduced.
- Railway Board to be restructured, two more members to be included.
- Railways to recruit more than one lakh persons in 2012-13.
- Railways to replace open discharge toilets with green toilets. 2,500 coaches will be equipped with bio-toilets next year.
- All Garib Rath trains to have one special AC coach for differently abled persons.
- All out efforts to improve hygiene in trains and stations in next six months.
- Special housekeeping body to be set up to maintain stations and trains.
- Improvement of passenger amenities at a cost of Rs.1,112 crore; regional cuisines to be introduced.
- World Bank funding of R.6,500 crore firmed up for dedicated freight corridors; land acquired for 3,300 km; first contracts to be handed out during 2012-13
- Standard of hygiene needs to be improved substantially; all out efforts will be made on this in the next six months; duty bound to provide high standard of services; special housekeeping body to be set up for stations and trains.
- Corrosion from night soil being discharged from toilets on tracks costs Rs.350 crore annually; green toilets to be installed in 2,500 coaches in the next one year.
- Two thousand one hundred specially designed coaches manufactured to meet needs of the differently abled; aim to provide one such coach in each express train.
- Electrification to be undertaken over 6,500 km at an allocation of Rs.8,000 crore during 12th Plan.
- Conversion from DC to AC power supply completed in Western Railway corridor of Mumbai suburban rail system; conversion of Central Railway corridor to be completed in 2012-13.
- Elevated corridor from Churchgate to Virar in Mumbai being firmed up.
- Government should consider dividend payback to railways.
- Thirty-one projects over 5,000 km being implemented with state governments sharing costs.
- Capacity augmentation to get Rs.4,410 crore during 2012-13.
- Eighty-five new line projects to be taken up during 2012-13.
- One hundred and fourteen new line surveys to be undertaken during 2012-13.
- New line projects to get Rs.6,870 crore in 2012-13.
- Gauge conversion to be undertaken over 800 km with an allocation of Rs.1,950 crore.
- Focus during next five years on five areas: tracks, bridges, signalling, rolling stock and stations.
- Signalling to be improved over 19,000 km.
- Investment of Rs.1.70 lakh crore on rolling stock in next five years.
- Attempt to increase train speeds to 160 kmph; journey time from New Delhi to Kolkata can be brought down to 14 hours from 17 hours.
- Improvements to railway stations can provide employment to 50,000 people.
- Outlay of Rs.60,100 crore during 2012-13, the highest ever.
- Railways will require Rs.14 lakh crore in the next 10 years for modernisation.
- Aim to bring down operating ratio from 90 percent to 84.9 percent in 2012-13 and to 72 percent by 2016-17.
- Time has come for formulating national policy for railways on the lines of that for defence and external affairs.
- Railways should grow at 10 percent annually for sustained GDP growth.
- Railways to invest Rs.7.35 lakh crore during 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), a quantum jump from the Rs.1.92 lakh crore invested in previous plan period.
- Railways must attract 10 percent of the Rs.20 lakh crore government expects to spend on infrastructure during 12th Plan.
- Railways expect gross budgetary support of Rs.2.5 lakh crore during 12th Plan.
- Collective challenge to formulate viable funding mechanism for modernisation.
- Railways should contribute 2 percent of GDP from the present 1 percent.
- Stress on strengthening safety. Has to be be benchmarked with the best in the world.
- Target of reducing accidents from 0.55 to 0.17 has been met.
- Special purpose vehicle to be set up on safety protocols.
- Independent railway safety authority to be set up as statutory safety body.
- Investment of Rs.5.60 lakh crore required for modernisation.