Railway Budget 2016: Key Points
Railways Vision 2020 to meet Long Felt Desires of Common Man
The Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that by 2020, Indian Railways look forward to meet the long-felt desires of the common man such as reserved accommodation on trains being available on demand, time tabled freight trains with credible service commitments, high end technology to significantly improve safety record, elimination of all unmanned level crossings, punctuality increased to almost 95 per cent, increased average speed of freight trains to 50 kmph and Mail/Express trains to 80 kmph, semi high speed trains running along the golden quadrilateral and zero direct discharge of human waste.
Presenting the Railway Budget 2016-17 in Parliament today spelling out his vision, the Minister said that the Railways must provide to the citizens of this country a rail system that they can be proud of – a system free from capacity constraints, a system that is efficient and predictable, a system that is sparkling and pristine, where the people of the country feel at ease, where there is plenty of choice in every sphere of activity, and the ease of doing business pervades the entire railway ecosystem. In short, a system that is capable of taking care of its own needs financially and otherwise. He said, he is thankful to the various committees, including the committee chaired by Dr. Debroy, whose recommendations have informed our vision.
Wi-Fi Services at 100 Stations to be Commissioned this Year and at 400 more Stations in the next 2 Years.
Suresh Prabhu proposed to commission Wi-Fi services at 100 stations this year and at 400 more stations in the next 2 years. He said that Indian Railways is partnering with Google in this endeavour.
This year, an application of Track Management System (TMS) was launched. With this, activities of track inspection, monitoring and maintenance have thus been switched over to an IT platform, and automatic alerts in the form of SMS and e-mails are being generated. Inventory Management module of TMS has resulted in inventory reduction by 27,000 MT resulting in saving of Rs.64 crore and scrap identification of 22,000 MT equivalent to Rs.53 crore. During 2016-17, this system will be implemented on entire Indian Railways. Indian Railways has developed an application for maintaining centralized land data, and records of all land holdings over Indian Railways have been digitized.
Facilities such as ticketing, grievance redressal, etc. will be integrated into two mobile apps; one dealing with all ticketing issues and the other for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions related to all our services.
No hike in fare; 3 New Super Fast trains to be launched
The three new superfast trains announced by him in the Railway budget 2016-17 include ‘Humsafar’ which will be a fully air-conditioned 3AC service with option of meals. ‘Tejas’ will showcase the future of train travel in India with speeds up to 130 km per hour with onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine and wifi.
The two trains will ensure cost recovery through tariff and non-tariff measures while ‘Uday’ will be an overnight double-decker along with ‘Utkrishit’ double-decker air-conditioned yatri express on the busiest routes.
30,000 Bio toilets to be introduced in Trains
The Railway Minister has proposed to undertake awareness campaigns to improve cleanliness at select stations, station approach roads and adjacent colonies. He also said that portable bio toilets will be provided at all platforms of select stations to cater to the demand of senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women passengers. Innovative means of providing and maintaining toilets through advertisement rights, CSR sponsorship, etc to be explored.