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.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Railways needs 2 lakh cr to complete projects

The Health of the Indian Railways in not in good shape. The Railways is facing a huge shortfall of revenue. It lacks resources. Over the years, different Railways ministers have announced several projects across India. Most of these projects are at various stages of implementation. Some are yet to take off.

 

Over the years states have been demanding for better Railway network, infrastructure and connectivity. Unless the states share the cost of various Railway projects, the Centre won’t be able to implement them.

According to the information available with me many state governments are opposing cost sharing on the grounds that they don’t have enough money to bear the cost. In my home state of Karnataka, when I was Minister of State for Railways at the Centre, I had persuaded the state government to share the cost.

The state had shared 50 percent of the cost of laying new tracks and gauge conversion etc. A few other state governments also shared the cost in their respective states.

The new Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has a tough job. He is a decent man with a vision. We expect him to do something big. But, how will he be able to raise the money to complete the ongoing and pending projects?

We need at least two lakh crore rupees to complete these projects. The Railways is facing a huge resource crunch. Unless, he raises money, no promise can be kept. Raising money is not an easy job under present circumstances.

Some argue that the Railways should raise money from the open market. I have a hunch that Suresh Prabhu is keen on external borrowing. But, we should be careful before going to private entities for money. After all Railways is India’s lifeline and we can’t compromise its security and independence for money. Privatization or partial privatization is not a good idea. Before deciding on such things, all stakeholders should be taken into confidence. We in the opposition must also be contacted and convinced.

Suresh Prabhu is a new minister and we will wait for some more time before saying something about his performance. The Railways budget for 2015-16 will decide that. Under UPA-1 and UPA-2 rule, the Railways has done a good job. We initiated and completed several projects.

I don’t agree with the allegations that we did nothing. We may have failed in marketing our good work. The Modi government is good only at marketing. There is no real action on the ground.Railways is India’s pride. It is our national asset. Let’s develop it into an international brand with international standards. However, we must not forget the poor and ordinary people who depend on the Railways. Between money and social responsibility, the government must choose social responsibility.

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