Rail Budget 2013: Highlights

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced the Union Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament. Here are the highlights –
 ● No increase in passenger fares 
 ● Railways will absorb Rs. 850 crore on account of no hike in passenger fare
 ● Marginal increase in reservation charges, cancellation charges
 ● Supplementary charges for superfast trains and tatkal booking
 ● 26 new passenger trains to be launched
 ● 67 express trains to be launched 
 ● 9 Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains to be introduced
 ● 500-km new lines to be completed in 2013-14
 ● Concessional fare for sportspersons
 ● 5 per cent average increase in freight 
 ● Diesel price hike added Rs. 3,300 crore to fuel bill of Railways
 ● Railways hopes to end 2013-14 with a balance of Rs. 12,506 crore
 ● 5.2 per cent growth in passenger traffic expected in 2013-14
 ● Railways' freight loading traffic scaled down by 100 million tonnes from 1025 million tonnes because of economic slowdown
 ● Railways to set up a Debt Service Fund
 ● Rs. 3,000 crore loan from Finance Ministry re-paid with interest by Railways this financial year

 ● New coach manufacturing and maintenance facilities to be set up in various places including Rae Bareli, Bhilwara, Sonepat, Kalahandi, Kolar, Palakkad and Pratapgarh
 ● Five fellowships to be announced to motivate students
 ● Centralised training institute to be set up in Secunderabad
 ● Will provide better living conditions for Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel
 ● Seek to fill 1.52 lakh vacancies in railways this year. 47,000 vacancies for weaker sections and physically challenged to be filled up soon
 ● Target of Rs. 4,000 crore for railway production units in 2014 
 ● Trying to connect Manipur through railways
 ● Investment of Rs. 3800 crore for port connectivity projects
 ● Target of Rs. 1000 crore each for Indian Railways Land Development Authority and Indian Railways Station Development authority
 ● Toll free 1800111321 number to address grievance. Introduced from February 2013
 ● Labs to test food provided in trains. ISO certification for all rail kitchens
 ● Advance fraud control will be used for ticket sale
 ● Induction of e-ticketing through mobile phones, SMS alerts to passengers 
 ● Next-generation e-ticketing system to improve end user experience. The system will support 7200 users per minute 
 ● Wheelchairs and escalators to be made to make stations and trains friendlier for the differently-abled.
 ● Rs. 100 crore to be spent to augment facilities at Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin railway stations
 ● Special attention to stations in NCR.
 ● Free wi-fi facilities in select trains. 60 more 'adarsh' stations 
 ● Safety measures including new coaches with anti-climb features to be brought in
 ● More ladies specials in metros and a helpline number to be implemented
 ● Railways meets need of consumers while adhering to sound economic principles. Need to expand at a much faster growth rate
 ● I am committed to improving passenger amenities
 ● Resource crunch cannot be a reason for substandard services 
 ● Elimination of over 10,000 level crossings 
 ● 17 bridges sanctioned for rehabilitation
 ● Enhancement of the track capacity and the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS)
 ● Indigenously developed collision avoidance system to be put to trial
 ● Induction of self-propelled accident relief trains along with fast and reliable disaster management system
 ● Railway passengers deserve safe and comfortable travel. Safety is a mandate in running trains. There has been a significant reduction in accidents - .41 per million kms in 2003-04 to .13 in 2011- 12. We will strive to work towards a zero accident situation.
 ● Our targets need to be higher
 ● Mounting scarcity of resources, thin spread of funds continue to be a problem 
 ● The number of passenger trains has increased from 8000 in 2001 to over 12000 in 2012 - yet losses continue to mount. It is estimated to be Rs. 24,000 cr in 2012-13 
 ● Indian railways must remain financially viable
 ● Indian Railways plays an unparalleled growth in integrating the nation

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