The Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who had admitted that the 2016 Railway Budget is going to be tougher than the last year, has been aware of the financial strain that the railways has come under. Calling the budget as the documentation of the journey of transforming, Prabhu added that the core objective is to make Indian Railways “an engine of employment generation and economic growth at national level”
Here are the highlights of the new initiatives announced and measures proposed during the presentation of the budget in the Parliament today.
Overview of Promises Kept
- Recruitment process has been made online to ensure complete transparency.
- Action has been initiated on 139 Budget announcements made in 2015.
- Around 1,780 ticket-vending machines have been installed.
- 1,600 km of electrification has happened in 2015.
- CCTV network has been provided at 311 railway stations.
- Safety record has improved as 2015 witnessed 20% less accidents than last year.
Announcements for 2016
- North-East India, especially Mizoram and Manipur, will be connected through broad gauge.
- The ministry will commission 2,800 km of new tracks next year.
- Three new freight corridors – Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada – to be developed.
- 2,000 km of electrification has been proposed for the next year
- The Ministry will soon include e-ticket facility for foreign debit and credit card holders.
- People can soon cancel their tickets by calling on 139 helpline number.
- Bar-coded tickets to be introduced on pilot basis to curb menace of ticket-less travel.
- The ministry will introduce double-decker trains on business travel routes.
- Fully unreserved super-fast trains will also be introduced on routes with dense traffic.
- Indian Railways will increase the quota of lower berths for women and senior citizens.
- Wi-Fi service can be availed at 100 railway stations this year.
- The Railways will install GPS-based digital display in coaches to show upcoming stations.
- Ring Railway will be redeveloped in partnership with the Delhi government.
- The Minister proposed elevated rail corridors from Churchgate to Virar and CST to Panvel.
- India’s first rail auto hub will come up in Chennai.
- No hike in railway fares.
- Two dedicated freight corridors to be developed by 2019.
- The Ministry will use drones for remote monitoring of ongoing projects.
- Prabhu announced 33% sub-quota for women under all reserved categories.
- Advertising revenue will be increased by more than four times in this fiscal year.
- The Railways has received in-principle approval for Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) projects.
- Optional travel insurance for passengers prior to travel is on the cards.