Budget-o-Meter: Rate the Modi Government's First Rail Budget

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government on Tuesday presented its first railway budget, promising to seek increased foreign and domestic private investment to fund modernization of the country's huge but badly stretched network.

The state-owned railway has suffered from years of low investment and populist policies to subsidise fares. These have reduced the system to a slow, congested network that crimps economic growth.

Here are the highlights:

  • Grateful to honourable PM Narendra Modi ji for having given me this opportunity and for entrusting me with this responsibility
  • I can get claps from this house by announcing many new projects but that would be rendering injustice to the struggling organization
  • The fare revision was tough but a necessary decision - it will bring Indian Railways an additional revenue of 8,000 crores

Increased Funds to Ensure Passenger Amenities and Cleanliness:

  • Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom
  • It gives me immense pleasure to present my first Railway Budget flooded with suggestion for new trains, new railway lines
  • We now target to become the largest freight carrier in the world
  • Indian railways carry only 31% of the total freight in the country. It is a challenge we have to face
  • 5 lakh crore required each year for the next ten years for ongoing projects alone
  • 23 paisa lost per passenger per km in 2012-13
  • Social obligation of Railways in 2013-14 was Rs 20,000 crore
  • Focus on sanctioning projects rather than completing them
  • The more projects we add the thinner we spread our resources
  • Indian Railways carries more than the entire population of Australia in a day
  • Populist projects and mismanagement have brought Railways to point of funds crunch
  • This state of affairs in railways needs immediate course correction
  • Gross traffic receipts in 2013-14 was Rs 1.3 lakh crore, operating ratio was 94 per cent
  • Indian Railways spent Rs 41,000 crore on laying of 3,700 km of new lines in last 10 years
  • Need to explore alternative sources of resource mobilisation and not depend on fare hike alone
  • Large part of the budget outlay to go to safety projects
  • Maximum financial outlays for projects slated for completion in this area itself
  • High priority areas - safety, cleanliness, passenger amenities and capacity augmentation
  • Future projects to be financed on public-private partnership model
  • Plans to attract investment from domestic and foreign players in infrastructure; focus to be on aggressive indigenisation
  • FY15 Total Expenditure Pegged At Rs.1.49 lakh crore
  • FY15 total receipts pegged at Rs.1.64  lakh crore
  • Propose to hike budgetary plan outlay to Rs.47,650 crore
  • FY15 passenger fare revenue pegged at Rs.44,600 crore
  • Pre-cooked meals by reputed brands, focus on cleanliness and passenger feedback
  • Outsource cleaning activities at 50 major stations, separate housekeeping wing for cleanliness and sanitation
  • CCTVs to be used for monitoring cleanliness
  • RO Drinking water at stations and trains
  • Corporates encouraged to adopt stations for better maintenance and upkeep

Safety for Women Passengers:

  • 17,000 Railway Protection Force personnel to be available soon
  • Introduction of women RPF constables, coaches meant for women to be escorted for greater safety

Bullet train:

  • Indian Railways on course to fulfill its long cherished dream. I propose a Bullet train on the Ahmedabad - Mumbai sector
  • Higher speed for existing trains will be achieved by upgrading the present networks

Reservation system will be revamped:

  • Railways to scale down market borrowings to Rs. 11,790 crore
  • Reservation system will be revamped and ticket-booking through mobile phones and post offices popularised
  • Wi-fi Services in all A Category stations and trains
  • To Have Diamond Quadrilateral Network for High-speed Trains
  • Digital Reservation Charts at stations

  • Parcel traffic separated to requisite terminals, dedicated trains running on fixed timetable
  • New design of parcel vans -- measures taken in order to improve earnings from the parcel system
  • Special initiatives via the PPP mode for transport of fruits and vegetables and milk
  • Bio-diesel upto 5% to be used in diesel locomotives 
  • 23 projects underway in North-East. Propose to allocate higher funds than previous year for these projects
  • Future e-Ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute and to allow 1.2 lakh simultaneous users
  • Dedicated freight corridor projects will be closely monitored 
  • Experimental stoppages to be reviewed solely on the basis of feasibility and viability after 3 months
  • Government to make e-procurement compulsory for procurements over Rs 25 lakh
  • GIS Mapping and digitisation of Railway Land
  • 18 new line surveys, 10 surveys for doubling 3rd and 4th lines and gauge conversion.
  • Office-on-Wheels; internet and workstation facilities on select trains.
  • Setting up of logistic parks, private freight terminals on PPP model
  • Connectivity to ports through PPP, procurement of parcel vans and rakes by private parties for resource augmentation
  • Will offer wifi-services in all 'A' category trains and A1 stations.
  • To have digital reservation charts at stations.
  • Working on making railway offices paperless in five years
  • e-Ticketing through mobile phones will be popularized.

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