Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT | By The Hindu Business Line

Railway Budget 2014: No fare hike, 17 new premium trains

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presents a subdued vote-on-account for Railways budget with 72 new trains and no increase in rail fare and freight charges


Railway Budget 2014: No fare hike, 17 new premium trains (© Reuters)

New Delhi: Diverting from the interim railway budget presented by Lalu Prasad in 2009, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today presented what may be the shortest vote-on-account. In it, while he refrained from making any announcements, he did spell out the achievements of the Railways during this past five year stint.

The Minister started off with a Ghalib quote, which meant that he will seek to present a truthful picture.

Mallikarjun Kharge is the second Railway Minister from Congress Party in the 10-year UPA regime to be presenting a Railway Budget, although interim. Earlier, under UPA-I regime, Lalu Prasad from RJD had presented vote-on-account (interim budget) in 2009.

Mallikarjun Kharge did not read the entire speech and abruptly ended it by reading the last paragraph.

Highlights

The minister announced that 72 new trains were being introduced, including 17 premium trains, 38 express trains, 10 passenger trains, four suburban trains and three diesel locomotive inter-city trains for medium distances.

No increase in rail fare and freight has been proposed in the Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15. The Minister announced that there will be no more unmanned crossings. A number of measures for safety and security of passengers, like portable fire-extinguishers in coaches and induction-based cooking in pantry car, have been proposed in the Budget.

Proposes to expand dynamic pricing of rail fares on “larger scale“.

FDI being enabled to foster creation of world-class rail infrastructure; several PPP projects in pipeline.

Railways will borrow Rs. 13,800 crore from markets in 2014-15. Indian Railways market borrowings for 2014-15 are lower than Rs. 15,000 crore budgeted for current fiscal. For 2014-15, IRFC has a borrowing target of Rs. 12,800 crore for procuring rolling stock and RVNL to raise Rs. 1,000 crore for spending on projects.

Gross traffic receipt for 2014-15 is targeted at Rs. 160,775 crore - out of this, goods receipts are expected Rs. 105,770 crore and passenger receipts Rs. 45,255 crore.

Operating ratio for 2014-15 is targeted to improve marginally to 89.8 against 90.8 in the current fiscal.

Plan size for 2014-15 is targeted at Rs. 64,305 crore against Rs. 59,359 crore in current fiscal.

Premium AC special train in Delhi-Mumbai sector with shorter advance reservation period and dynamically varying premium over tatkal fare.

Independent Rail Tariff Authority set up to advice on fixing of fares and freight, to engage all stakeholders.

Three factories, at Chhapra, Rae Bareli and Dakuni, have become functional.

To connect Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh to national rail network in FY14.

Railways to start passenger service to Vaishno Devi and Katra.

Completed doubling gauge of 2,227 km, as against a target of 2,000 km.

Completed electrification of 4,556 km, as against a target of 4,500 km

To run more passenger trains at higher speed as needed.

Dedicated freight corridors to cut transit time by half.

Rolling stock acquisition surpassed 12th five-year Plan target.

Completed laying 2,027 km rail lines, as against a target of 2,000 km

Electrification of over 4,000 km is planned

Railways successfully met impact of Sixth Pay Commission. The Minister says that unlike other departments, railways met the full expenditure of Sixth Pay Commission from internal accruals.

Organization needs careful nurturing and it is necessary to take note of investment needs.

A rail tunnel that connects Jammu with Kashmir (which was inaugurated in June last year).

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