26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Predictions : Fare hike unlikely; stress on Make in India & cleanliness

Just a day before the Narendra Modi government is set to unveil the Rail Budget, sources say that its focus will be on attracting investment, modernisation of trains through Wifi and transparency in railway systems.

Sources say that a lot of suggestions from the Prime Minister’s office have been incorporated in the Budget. While a fare hike is unlikely across the board, a cess for cleanliness cannot be ruled out.

As high speed corridors cannot come out of the railway resources only, the focus is likely to be on joint ventures and Foreign Direct Investment in the Budget. As per sources, the emphasis of the government is to build a Public private partnership for raising money. NGOs, corporate sectors can advertise on the coaches of railways to generate more revenue.

Railway sources: 59,000 coaches to be converted into vacuum toilet, a technology that’s available in air planes. Cleanliness of stations and bio toilets is likely to be the thrust of ‘swachh’ (clean) railways.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is likely to make announcements of a series of green initiatives, focus on cleanliness and build an interactive customer portal for direct feedback from passengers. Prabhu is likely to emphasise upon finishing the existing projects.

To ensure safety and security, a proposal to install CCTVs in coaches and on stations is likely to be presented.

It is likely that lesser number of new trains will be announced in comparison to the previous budgets of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. According to sources, the minister feels that announcement should be done after study of feasibility and economic viability.

Sources also say that 2016 onwards, only those Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches will rolled out which have bio toilets. The old coaches will have green toilets. Stations which don’t see too many trains will see better utilisation of the space for skill development programme of the Prime Minister.

The focus of the Budget will be on Make in India so indigenous technology will be pushed, claim sources.

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