Railways happen to be the lifeline of India and so the announcement of Railway Budget is a much awaited event. On Thursday, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented Railway Budget 2016 in the parliament. Calling it a people-friendly budget, he said that due considerations have been given to the aspirations of common man. Much attention has been paid to improving the quality of travel for those travelling in reserved as well as unreserved coaches. It also focused on increasing the capacity of department and the execution of the stalled plans.
In the words of Mr Prabhu- “Dignity of passengers, speed of trains and progress of nation are main themes of this budget.”
Out of the many topics that were discussed, let’s take a look at the highlights of Rail Budget 2016:
1-Firstly, three new superfast trains were announced by the minister- Uday, Tejas and Humsafar. Uday will be a double-decker AC train running on some of the busiest routes. Tejas will be the ‘train of the future’ running at a speed of 130 km per hour and will have onboard services of Wi-Fi, cuisine and entertainment. And, Humsafar will be fully air-conditioned 3AC coaches with meals.
2-Though the fares were not reduced, certain other steps were taken in the direction. A Rail Development Authority will be set up to monitor fair pricing of the services and to determine the standards of efficiency. It is also aimed at promoting competition and protecting the interests of consumers.
3-Wi-Fi facilities will be provided at 100 more stations by this year and 400 new stations by the next year. Bids for two new loco factories under the ‘Make in India’ initiative have also been finalized. Moreover, social media will be increasingly used as a means of ensuring transparency.
4-Focusing on the quality of travel for unreserved passengers, Antyodaya express will be introduced. It will be a superfast service running between busy stations. In the existing trains, unreserved coaches by the name of ‘Deen Dayalu’ will also be introduced. It will have portable water facility and larger number of charging points for cell phones and laptops.
5-There will be increased lower berth quota for senior citizens and women. 33% sub-quota for women under all reserved categories will also be announced. Seat quota for senior citizens will go up by 50%.
6-Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada are the three other freight corridors announced. And by 2020, there will be time-tabled freight trains.
7-The railway wants to focus on the pending assignments first rather than launching new projects. It wants to improve the capacity of the department to accelerate the envisioned growth.
8- Passengers will soon be able to cancel their tickets through the helpline 139. Travel insurance can also be availed while booking tickets. The cleaning of your coach can be arranged by just sending an SMS.
Smart facilities are likely to come on the trains by the next few years. GPS enabled monitors will guide passengers through the journey like in metro trains. SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches with bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, ergonomic seating and automatic doors are also coming soon.
Last year, the rail budget presented a medium term vision and to reach the previously set level of plans, we need to restructure and reorganize the way we work. The budget looks up at revitalizing the system to meet the aspirations of a common man.
Read More About………….Railway Budget 2015: Keynotes and Highlights