The first Rail Budget by The Railway Minister Sh. DV Sadananda Gowda surely signals good economics and is a new hope for various sectors of the country. The rail budget is a visionary statement to put railways back on track. The Indian Railways targets to become the largest freight carrier in the world.
Mentioned below are the 10 must knows about the rail budget 2014-15:
1. Currently the FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) in railways comes under the list of “prohibited sectors”. However it may change soon as the Ministry of Railways is planning to seek cabinet approval to allow 100% FDI through the automatic route in most segments. This change is proposed as the government is strapped for funds to build a modern railway network.FDI will however not be allowed in railway operations. The budget also proposes to attract private domestic funding in infrastructure projects and also plans to pursue the private-public partnership model to boost the finances of Indian Railways.
2. Rising Dependence on Budget
The current year’s plan outlay is the highest ever i.e. Rs.65,445 crore.
|Railway Safety Fund||2,200|
|PPP (Private Public Partnership)||6500|
3.The operating Ratio of railwayshas gone up from 76 % in 2007-08 to an estimated 93.5% in 2013-14.It uses 94 paisa out of every rupee earned towards expense leaving little surplus. Railways surplus is estimated to come down Rs. 602 crore for 2014-2015 from Rs.3783 crore in 2013-2014.
4. Another major highlight of the budget is, the budget did not raise the fares, however the periodic revision will be made depending on the higher fuel costs in order to boost the revenues of Railways from the increase of fuel cost. Having hiked fares to the tune of 14.2 per cent recently sparing passengers from any further hike. The loss in passenger fares has gone up from 10 paise per passenger km in 2000-01 to 23 paise in 2012-13. Last month’s fare revision will bring in Rs.8,000 crore, but periodic revision in rail fares needs to take place and will be linked to revision in fuel price.
5.In last 30 years 676 projects sanctioned worth Rs.1,57,883 crore Out of which 317 were completed and 359 projects remains to be completed which will need Rs. 1,82,000 cr more. Therefore the focus in this budget is completion of projects.
6. Fast track bullet train project starting of with 543 km between Mumbai-Ahmadabad corridor. The diamond quadrilateral network of high speed trains is the top priority of the government. For this for the first time the budget has made the provision of Rs.100 crore for Railway Vikas Nigam Ltd. To begin work on high speed trains. The government requires Rs. 60000 crore for one bullet train. The Ministry also plans to hike the speed of trains to 160-200 km/hr.
7. Railways will leverage rail PSU resources to raise additional funds. The government will also take up bulk of future projects, such as high-speed trains, through public private partnerships. The minister added that a planned tax holiday scheme, which will incentivize investments for railways projects that have a long gestation period will also be promoted. The government will focus on aggressive indigenization.The Ministry has further proposed to invest Rs6005 crore worth PPP investment.
8. The government is targeting Revenues of Rs. 1,64,000 crore while expenses being 1,49,000 crore. The freight target is expected to grow by 4.9 %.
9. Railways to run 58 new trains 5 Jansadharan Trains, 5 PremiumTrains, 6 AC Express Trains, 27Express Trains, 8 Passenger Trains, 2 MEMU services and 5 DEMU services.
10. Passenger Amenities
- Indian Railways proposed to set up food courts at major railway stations.The budget proposed to introduce ready to eat meals of reputed brands oon board trains to improve food quality.
- The budget has also proposed to revamp the e-ticketing reservation system to support online booking @7200tickets/minute so that 1.2 lakh users can log in simultaneously.
- The Railway Ministry further promises a 40 % increase in budget allocation for cleanliness and sanitation.
- Wi-fi facilities in A1 an A category stations and selected trains
- Battery operated cars for senior citizens, lift, escalators, foot over bridges
- 4000 RPF women constables to esc ort women coaches to strengthen security for women travelling alone.