Railway minister Sadananda Gowda presented the Rail Budget for the year 2014-15 with focus on modernization of network and to cut down on budgetary deficit.
- Bullet train has been proposed on Mumbai-Ahmadabad sector.
- Speed of select trains to be increased to 160-200 kmph in 9 earmarked sectors.
- The present network will be upgraded to accomodate higher speed for existing trains.
- To set up Diamond Quadrilateral network of high speed rail connecting major metros and growth centers of the country – a move which will significantly reduce travel time between major cities.
- Wi-fi Services in A-1 and A category stations and in select trains.
- Plans to achieve paperless offices in 5 years.
- To set up Railway University for training in both technical and non-technical subjects besides establishing Innovations and Incubation Centre to harness the ideas generated from staff.
- Proposal to harness solar energy by utilizing roof top spaces of stations, railway buildings and land.
- Upgradation of e-ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute as against current limit of 2000 tickets per minute.
This will certainly clear the agonizing logjam in the online ticket reservation system.
- The new infrastructure will also allow 1,20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time.
- All major stations to have foot-over bridges, escalators, lifts etc.
- Railway shows its sincerity on women safety by announcing recruitment of 4000 women constables.
- The coaches for ladies will be escorted.
The Railway, along the line of Delhi Metro, is also looking to experiment with providing facility of Coin Operated Automatic Ticket Vending Machines on stations.
Points to chew on
- Railway spend 94 paise out of every rupee earned, leaving only 6 paise as surplus.
- The surplus is required to finance the Plan Outlay for safety, capacity expansion, infrastructure, improving passenger services and amenities.
- Indian Railways run 12617 trains to carry over 23 million passengers per day – its close to the total population of Australia.
What is Rail Budget..??
- Rail Budget is the annual financial statement of the state-owned Indian Railways.
- The budget is presented every year a few days prior to the General Budget of the country.
How the proposals get clearance??
- Discussion in Parliament prior to final approval.
- The Parliament sits to discuss and then vote on the demands for grants and the passage of the Appropriation and Finance Bills.
- The government here is free to entertain suggestion of opposition for tweaking of the budget as it always have the number to get the bills passed.
Why the Rail Budget has been separated from the General Budget
- The Rail Budget was separated from the General Budget in 1924. British till 1923 presented both together.
- However, the ever growing national network of railways forced the British to separate it from general budget in 1924.
- It was formally done on the recommendation of the 10 member committee headed by British economist A cworth.