Railway Budget 2016: No change in fares; double-decker, superfast trains soon

| Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 15:03
First Published |
Suresh Prabhu, Railway Budget 2016 Live, No change in passenger fares; double-decker, superfast trains soon

New Delhi: Announcing the Rail Budget 2016, railways minister Suresh Prabhu said that ticket cancellation via phone calls would be a reality soon. One of the biggest populist decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government was to not increase passenger fares, hoping to also reach out to the citizens during turbulent socio-economic times in the country.

The big announcement was the announcement of fully unreserved superfast trains coming on heavy traffic routes. Overnight 'Uday' double-decker trains were also on the cards soon.

One of the biggest populist decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government was to not increase passenger fares, hoping to also reach out to the citizens during turbulent socio-economic times in the country.

Suresh Prabhu added that 1 lakh calls were made daily to get rail passengers' feedback. He also stressed that mobile-based apps were developed and new trains from New Delhi to Varanasi were put in locomotion.

Will partner with Gujarat, Telangana & TN for developing suburban sections in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad & Chennai @sureshpprabhu

He also announced 24*7 hours women security and redevelopment of 400 stations. Proposed a hike senior citizen quota by 50%. Suresh Prabhu also told the Parliament that the world's first bio-vacuum toilet developed by Indian Railways is currently being used in Dibrugarh Rajdhani express.

(Also Read: Expectations high as Prabhu presents his second rail budget)

Customer connect is our top priority. Social media brought in transparency: @sureshpprabhu #RailBudget2016 @NewsX

We will introduce #WiFi services at 100 stations this year and 400 more stations over next two years. @sureshpprabhu

Railway Budget Key Highlights:

* IRCTC to begin marriage catering service in phased manner

* New R&D organisation to be established

* Rs.50 crore to be provided for start-ups by railway employees

* E-catering to be extended to all stations

* Local cusine of choice to be made available to rail passengers

* LIC to fund Rs.1.5 lakh crore over five years on favourable terms

* Two elevated tracks envisaged from Churchgate and CST on Mumbai's suburban railway system

* Specialised teams envisaged in specific areas to improve efficiency

* All-India 24X7 helpline for women

* Fully unreserved trains to be operated on high-density corridors

* Local art to be highlighted at railway stations

* Academic facility at Vadodara being upgraded to university level

* Railways to generate 9 crore mandays of employment in 2017-18 and 14 crore mandays in 2018-19

* To increase lower berth quota for senior citizens by 50 percent

* Dedicated freight corridors envisaged for North-South, East-West and East Coast alignments

* Social media being increasingly used to ensure transparency

* Online booking of retiring rooms made possible

* 17,000 additional bio-toilets to be provided by the end of current fiscal

* Finalised bids for two new loco factories under Make in India initiative

* WiFi facilities at 100 more stations this year and 400 stations next year

* 2,800 km of broad gauge track conversion envisaged

* Seven km of broad gauge lines to be commissioned every day during 2016-17

* Hope to commission 19 km of new broad gauge track every day by 2018-19

* Rs.8.8 lakh crore to be spent on infrastructure in five years

* Rs.40,000 crore expected from the government as budgetary support

* Railway Budget that reflects the expectations of the entire nation

* Making all-out efforts to translate dream of Prime minister Narendra Modi into reality

* Aiming tom achieve operation ratio of 92 percent

* Saving of Rs.8,720 crore from last year's estimates

* Envisaging capital expenditure of Rs.1.21 lakh crore

As per official data, India has the fourth largest railroad network in the world with some 64,460 route km, after the US (224,792), Russia (128,000) and China (112,00). Nearly 21,000 trains ply daily to ferry 23 million passengers and 3 million of freight.

The network spans 29 states and three union territories via some 8,500 stations. It criss-crosses Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu in the south and Ledo in Assam in the east to Naliya in Gujarat in the west.

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