Budget 2015

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Suresh Prabhu’s Speech (PART 1)

Below is the speech of Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 on February 26, 2015.

1. I rise to present before this August House the Statement of Estimated Receipts and Expenditure for 2015-16 for Indian Railways.

2. At the outset, let me thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji, for infusing all Indians with a renewed sense of pride and refreshed the dream of prosperous nation. At a more personal level, I wish to express my gratitude towards him for giving me this opportunity to serve the people of India through the medium of Railways which is his priority. The Prime Minister established the principle of governance when he asked what government was for if not for the welfare of the poor. He challenged us with an inspirational objective when he said that the age of poverty alleviation was over and that the era of poverty elimination had begun. Indian Railways will play its part in this historic mission.

3. Madam Speaker, the railway map of India is a network of veins that pump life-giving blood into the heart of India’s economy. Indian Railways is a unique integrator of modern India, with a major role in its socio-economic development. It is an organization that touches the hearts and existence of all Indians, even Mahatma Gandhi. Bapu decided to undertake a voyage of discovery of India before launching himself into the national freedom movement. And he conducted this Bharat Darshan on trains, always travelling in third class.

4. Unfortunately, Railway facilities have not improved very substantially over the past few decades. A fundamental reason for this is the chronic underinvestment in Railways, which has led to congestion and over-utilization. As a consequence, capacity augmentation suffers, safety is challenged and the quality of service delivery declines, leading to poor morale, reduced efficiency, sub-optimal freight and passenger traffic, and fewer financial resources. This again feeds the vicious cycle of under-investment.

5. This cycle must be put to an end. Once it does, the gains to the economy will be immense: better services, improved connectivity for all citizens including the poorer segments of our society, lower costs and improved competitiveness. Investment in the Railways will have a large multiplier effect on the rest of the economy and will create more jobs in the economy for the poor. Investment in Indian Railways is also necessary for environmental sustainability and well being of future generations.

6. Madam Speaker, the Indian Railways carry a heavy burden of expectations. Citizens who demand better railway services are often not aware of the constraints that the Railways operate under. I wish to flag two; there are 1219 sections on the high-density network, which can be roughly equated with tracks connecting the metros. Out of these, 492 are running at a capacity of more than 100% and there are another 228 that are running at a capacity of between 80% and 100%. If a section is over-stretched, the entire line is over-stretched. There is no slack available for maintenance and train speeds slow down. On a single track, the Indian Railways have to run fast express trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi, ordinary slow passenger trains as well as goods trains. Is it surprising that though Rajdhani and Shatabdi are capable of doing 130 km/hour, the average speed does not exceed 70? Is it surprising that the ordinary passenger train or a goods train cannot average more than around 25 km/hour?

7. In the next five years, our priority will be to significantly improve capacity on the existing high-density networks. Improving capacity on existing networks is cheaper. There are no major land acquisition issues and completion time is shorter. The emphasis will be on gauge conversion, doubling, tripling and electrification. Average speed will increase. Trains will become more punctual. Goods trains can be timetabled.

8. I am reminded of a novel by Shubhada Gogate titled “khandalyachya ghatasaathi”. The novel is a fictionalized account of India’s first railway line being constructed crossing the Sahyadri range. You build a section at a time. You build a tunnel at a time. You then move on to the next section and the next tunnel. You build bit by bit. We must restore the strength of Bhartiya Rail as the backbone of our country’s transportation infrastructure. Bhartiya Rail must substantially regain the market share of freight transport. Rail transport must be made reliable, comfortable and safe and benchmarked to global standards.

I am convinced we can deliver. But we cannot deliver overnight. We will build bit by bit, incrementally. The legacy of past decades will take some time to neutralize.

Mr. Suresh Prabhu’s Speech Continues…….

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Train speed to be hiked to reduce time between metro cities

The speed of trains connecting major metro cities would be increased up to 200 kilometres per hour (kmph) on nine select railway corridors in a bid to reduce travel time, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced on Thursday.

The increased speed will involve upgradation of track including turnarounds, improve rolling stock to higher standards and adopting improved methods of track recording, monitoring and maintenance.

Regarding other high speed routes on the diamond quadrilateral, he said studies were being commissioned. He also proposed to increase average speed of freight trains, both in empty and loaded conditions to be enahnced. A policy of attaining speeds of 100 km per hour for empty freight trains and 75 km per hour for loaded trains was being put in place to pursue the objective of maximising loading in every trains, he said, adding that loading density on all major freight-bearing routes would be upgraded.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : To up annual freight capacity to 1.5 bn tonnes, says Prabhu

Presenting his maiden Rail Budget, Minister Suresh Prabhu promised to increase annual freight capacity to 1.5 billion tonnes from 1 billion. He also envisaged Rs 8.5 lakh crore investment over five years.

Prabhu added the government will partner with private sector to improve rolling stock fleet. The railways will also focus on adopting a medium-term perspectiveto focus on adopting a medium-term perspective.

Railways generated Rs 86,009.27 crore from freight traffic during the April 2014-January 2015 period as compared to Rs 76,501.01 crore during the corresponding period last fiscal, registering an increase of 12.43 percent.

Railways carried 906.36 million tonnes (MT) of freight during April-January period as compared to 866.14 MT carried during the corresponding 10 month period last financial year, registering an increase of 4.64 percent, according to Railway Ministry data.

During the month of January, railways generated Rs 10,023.71 cr as compared to Rs 8795.90 cr during the same period last year, registering an increase of 13.96 percent. Out of which, Rs 4728.91 cr came from transportation of 48.93 MT of coal, followed by Rs 877.41 cr from transportation of 9.95 MT of cement, Rs 739.06 crore from 10.10 MT of iron ore for exports, steel plants and for other domestic users.

The national transporter earned Rs 768.11 cr from 4.82 MT of food grains, Rs 495.99 cr from 3.55 MT of petroleum oil and lubricant (POL), Rs 582.31 cr from 3.46 MT of pig iron and finished steel from steel plants and other points, Rs 540.27 cr from 4.41 MT of fertilisers, Rs 190.10 cr from 1.75 MT of raw material for steel plants except iron ore, Rs 446.05 cr from 4.07 MT by container service and Rs 655.50 cr from 6.75 MT of other goods.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Suresh Prabhu’s Railway Budget 2015-16 Highlights

Suresh Prabhu today announced the Railway Budget 2015-16. In his Budget announcement, Prabhu thanked PM Modi and said the Indian railways will play major role in development of country.

Below are the highlights of the Railway Budget 2015-16:

– No increase in passenger fares.
– To deliver a sustained and measurable customer experience.
– Make railways a safer means of transport.
– To expand and modernise Indian Railways.
– To increase track capacity by 14 percent to 138,000 km.
– Prabhu proposed an operating ratio of 88.5 percent for FY16 versus 91.8 percent FY15.
– Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu also announced the move towards paperless ticketing.
– WiFi services in all category of A & B stations.
– Passengers will now be able to book food options from IRCTC website.
– The Railway Minister proposed to increase the number of advanced booking days to 120 days.
– The Minister also welcomed bids from interested parties for revamping stations.
– Prabhu said the Indian Railways will spend Rs 96,182 crore on capacity expansion in FY16.
– Prabhu said the railways is committed to providing rail connectivity to north-east.

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