Railway Budget of India is announced every year by the Railway Minister of India in the parliament, representing the Ministry of Railways. In short we simply call it Rail Budget. It is the Annual Financial Statement of the state Indian Railways, which handles rail transport in India. Every year the Railway ministry try to implement good changes keeping in view the safety, security and comfortability of the passengers with an aim to enhance the makeover of the country.
Maintaining the same objective Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced the Rail Budget for the financial year 2016-2017. This was the second railway budget for Suresh Prabhu and third rail budget of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
The theme for the Rail Budget was “Chalo, Milkar Kuch Naya Karen” for overcoming challenges – Reorganize, Rejuvenate, Restructure Indian Railways.
Three pillars strategy were set as “Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New norms, Nav Sanrachna – New Structures”.
Suresh Prabhu announced the budget taking in consideration that “every customer is Railway’s Brand Ambassador”. According to this budget it can be expected that there will be some good implementation in favour of the common man. We can have a look on some important announcements to understand what changes are about to employ: –
Introducing the Antyodaya Express, a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes.
Going to add two to four Deen Dayalu coaches in some long distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance our carrying capacity for the masses with the facility for potable drinking water and a higher number of mobile charging points.
Introducing three select train services, “Humsafar, Tejas and UDAY” were announced.
Humsafar and Tejas will guarantee cost recovery with the help of tariff and non-tariff measures.
Humsafar would be fully air conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals.
Tejas will also make a platform for the improved future of train travel in India, by offering onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi, etc.
Overnight introduction of double-decker, Utkrisht Double Decker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY) Express on the busiest routes that has the potential to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.
There will be no hike in passenger fares as Railway Budget spared passengers and goods movement from any increase in tariffs.
Introduction of SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches to re-imagine the design and layout of coaches to ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system and more.
Keeping in view the suitability of the residential and short distance travelers, Railway is going to commence sale of tickets through hand held terminals.
Railways will open the e-ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards for foreign tourists and NRIs in the next 3 months.
Planning to progressively ensure CCTV coverage at tatkaal
Railways will install information boards in trains computing the onboard services and also GPS based digital displays inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts. One person will always be accountable for all facilities on the train.
‘Clean my Coach‘ service will be introduced on Pan-India basis, which will let a passenger to request cleaning of his/her coach/toilets on demand through SMS. It will also install additional 30,000 bio-toilets in the next financial year.
E-catering services will be extended by IRCTC from existing 45 large stations to all 408 ‘A-1′ and ‘A’ class stations.
Railways will make available children’s menu items on train and baby foods, hot milk and hot water on stations and changing boards for babies would be provided in train toilets.
Railways is working with insurance companies to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking to reduce the financial loss to passengers from unfavorable incidents.
Railways has introduced Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway to help the old and disabled passengers requiring assistance at stations.
To meet the objectives related with the “Accessible India” campaign, Railway is planning to ensure that all stations under redevelopment are accessible to provide at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year and also ensure availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at these stations.
Action will be implemented on 139 budget announcements made last year.
Suresh Prabhu, while announcing the 2016-17 Rail Budget, ensured that measures are aimed at enhancing customer experience that will bring cheer to the common man.