3rd July 2009, New Delhi, Ms. Mamta Banerjee, Railway minsiter of India presented the Railway Budget for the year 2009-2010. Following is the summary of the railway budget she presented:
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2009-10 in Parliament today, Minister of Railways Kumari Mamata Banerjee announced that there will be no increase in passenger fare and freight tariff. She said that the budget will have approach for ‘inclusive growth’ and expansion of rail network to take development to every corner of the country.
Presenting the railway budget she proposed an outlay of Rs,.40,745 cr. for 2009-10. Out of this, Rs.2,921 cr. will be spent on new lines, Rs.1,750 cr. on gauge conversion and Rs.1,102 cr. on passenger amenities, which is 119% more than the allocation in the interim budget. Rs.424 cr. will also be spent on railway staff amenities. She proposed freight loading target of 882 MT and estimated gross freight receipt at Rs.88,419 cr.
Giving an overview of financial performance of the Railways in 2008-09, the Minister informed that freight loading during the period grew by 5 percent while traffic receipt increased by 11.4 per cent to reach Rs. 79,862 cr.
The Budget has proposals for 7 new lines, Gauge conversion of 17 lines and doubling of 13 railway lines. In addition, proposals for 53 new lines, 3 gauge conversion and doubling of 12 lines will be processed during the year.
Proposing revision in Tatkal Scheme to make it more passenger friendly, the Railway Minister said that both the advance booking time and minimum charge will be reduced. She said perceptible improvement will be ensured in passenger amenities and safety and security will be given utmost importance. Cleanliness and quality of railway catering will be improved with focus on strict monitoring. She proposed that ticketing facilities will be taken to the grassroot level. Under the ‘Maa Mati Manush’ initiative, computerized tickets will also be made available through Post Offices. Mobile ticketing vans, ‘Mushkil Aasaan’, will also be introduced to provide services in remote areas.
Timely track renewal, modernization of signals and use of digital ultrasonic flaw detectors will be introduced for the safety of the passengers besides Integrated Security Scheme at 140 vulnerable and sensitive stations. Women RPF Squads, exclusively for women passengers, will also be introduced.
Kumari Mamata Banerjee announced a new scheme “Izzat” for travel with dignity. Under this scheme the people in unorganized sector with monthly income upto Rs.1,500/- can avail concessional monthly season ticket of Rs.25/- for travel upto 100 k.m.
The existing student concession is to be extended to students of Madrasas and students in Kolkata will now have the MST facilities for Kolkata Metro also.
To provide relief to women passengers the Minister proposed ‘only ladies’ EMU trains in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata suburban during rush hours. She also announced new ‘Yuva trains’ dedicated to young generation from rural hinterland to major metros with concessional rail fare but with air-conditioned facilities.
Now the Press persons will get increased concession of 50% instead of existing 30% . Once in a year their spouse can also travel with 50% concession.
The Railway Minister announced 12 new point to point, non-stop ‘Duronto’ trains, 57 new train services, extension of 27 trains and increase in frequency of 13 trains. The Minister also proposed introduction of Air-conditioned double decker coaches for inter-city travel.
Fifty stations will be developed as world class stations and 375 stations as ‘Adarsh Stations’ with improved basic amenties. Multi functional complexes with shopping facilities, food stalls, budget hotels are to be constructed at 50 railway stations, which serve as centres of pilgrimage, tourist and industry.
The Minister announced extensive availability of ‘Janata Khana’, in which national and regional cuisines will be ensured. To improve the cleanliness, the onboard house keeping scheme (OBHS) will cover 200 additional pairs of trains. The long distance trains will have onboard availability of doctors and infotainment services. She also proposed 1000 new passenger reservation locations and expansion of Unreserved Ticketing System terminal from 5000 to 8000, In addition, automated ticket vending machines will be installed at 200 large and medium size stations.
Stressing on the extension of facilities for handicapped persons, the Railway Minister said that the Railway will have more ramps, lifts, escalators and special coaches for physically challenged and aged persons..
Reiterating her priority to extend railway services to farmers, she announced special trains to ferry perishable agro products like fruits, vegetables and also village handicrafts, cottage industry and textile products from production clusters to consumer clusters. She also proposed premium freight service for container movement with assured transit time and a mega logistic hub alongside eastern and western dedicated freight corridors. Premium parcel services with guaranteed transit time on pilot basis will be introduced on three routes. During 2009-10, Railway would acquire 18,000 new wagons against 11,000 in 2008-09.
The Minister announced creation of North-East Rail Development Fund for timely completion of national projects in the North Eastern region and said Quazigund-Anantnag new line in Kashmir will be completed by next month. She also proposed setting up of a new factory at Kanchrapara-Halisahar for manufacturing rail coaches and setting up 1000 MW power plant at Adra, in collaboration with Ministry of Power.
The Railway Minister said that welfare of railway staff will be given high priority. 6560 staff quarters will be constructed in 2009-10 and indoor stadia will be developed in major railway divisions and zones. Increased contribution of Rs.350 per employees to Staff Benefit Fund will continue for a year, with Rs.100 per employee for women empowerment. Scholarships will be introduced for the higher education of girl children of Group ‘D’ staff. She proposed attached medical colleges with railway hospitals at 18 locations and one burn unit at major hospitals. The Minister said the policy on Railway Recruitment Boards will be reviewed. Special recruitment drives for filling vacancies of SC and ST and physically handicapped will also be undertaken.
Emphasizing on review of projects with social perspective, Kumari Mamata Banerjee said, innovative financing will be adopted. The Railways will come out with White Paper on organizational, operational and financial status based on the last five years’ performance and develop Vision-2020 with short and long term strategy and plan of action. She said that a project monitoring committee will be set up for developing mechanism to avoid slippage in project delivery. Special monitoring will be taken up for all National Rail Projects. She also proposed an expert committee headed by Shri Sam Pitroda to suggest innovations to utilize optic fibre cable network of Railways and take information technology to remote areas.