Indian Railway Budget 2007-08
(26th February 2007)
India Inc has hailed the Indian Railway Budget 2007-08 as promising and progressive. They feel measures, especially those on containers and freight services, will not only help the industry but benefit the general public as well. Railway Minister has bet his budget on a buoyant economy and the fact that he has cut passenger fares and refrained from increasing freight rates suggests that Railways is now working like a private sector corporation, said FICCI.
Proposals relating to freight rates and passenger fares
No across the board increase in freight rates
Highest class 220 reduced to 210
Freight rates of diesel and petrol to come down by about 5 per cent
Minerals and Ores (iron-ore, lime-stone and dolomite) - reduction in classification from class 170 to 160
Wagon load class rates for commodities up to class LR1: reduced from class150 to class120
Schemes Announced/ Modified
· Commodity based freight policy-exclusive package for cement traffic
· Dynamic Wharfage and Demurrage rates - reduction in wharfage rates and relaxation in loading/unloading free time at select terminals.
· Discounts up to 40% on incremental loading of bagged consignments in open wagons in empty flow direction.
· Discount of 20 per cent during lean season and 15 per cent during peak season under Two Leg Freight Discount Scheme for covered wagons in up and down directions.
· Distance between unloading points in Two Points Rake Scheme to be increased from 200 to 400 kms during lean season.
· Facility for loading less than block rakes under Empty Flow Direction Scheme.
· Empty Flow Discount extended to all commodities except coal, coke and iron ore.
· Empty Flow Direction Freight Discount will be given at 30 per cent throughout the year for traffic lead of more than 700 kms.
· Reduction in passenger fares.
· Fares of second class in non-suburban ordinary passenger and non-superfast mail/express trains reduced by one rupee per passenger
· AC First Class : 3% reduction in busy season , 6% in lean season
· AC-2Tier Class : 2% reduction in busy season, 4% in lean season
· Reduction in fares for all classes of high capacity new design reserved coaches :
· AC3-Tier & AC CC: 4% reduction in busy season and 8% in lean season
· Sleeper Class: 4% reduction in all seasons
· Above discounts for busy season shall be applicable in popular trains throughout the year.
· Superfast charge on Second Class tickets reduced by 20 per cent (from Rs. 10 to Rs. 8).
· Tourist ticket to be introduced in Mumbai Suburban Services with facility for unlimited travel.
· Charges for e-tickets booked on the internet reduced.
Initiatives taken for improvement in Freight Business
Target for freight loading kept at 785 Million Tonnes (MT) in 2007-08
Mission 200 MT - Railways’ target higher share in transportation of Cement and Steel - 200 MT each by 2011-12
Mission 100 MT - container traffic target of 100 MT by 2011-12
Planning for Triple-stack container trains on diesel route and double-stack container trains on electrified route
Railways offer to run Merry-go-round systems of power plants
Upgradation of Freight terminals handling more than 15 rakes per month.
22.9 tonnes and 25 tonnes axle-load freight trains to run on more routes
Production of wagons of higher axle-load and payload to commence
Wagon manufacturers to be encouraged to design wagons with higher payload and new technology
Majority of air-brake trains to be examined in accordance with premium CC or premium end-to-end examination system
Implementation of Unit Exchange Maintenance for rolling stock to improve productivity
Zonal Railway to engage independent marketing agencies for exploring further possibilities in freight business
Initiatives in passenger business
800 more coaches to be attached in popular trains
Plan to provide cushioned seats in unreserved second class coaches
Increase in unreserved second class coaches from four to six in every new train – Efforts will be made to increase unreserved second class coaches in existing trains also.
Facility for reservation of lower berths for senior citizens and women above 45 years traveling alone
Increase in provision of special coaches (SLRD & SRD) for Physically challenged passengers
Vendor coaches for sections frequented by milk and vegetable vendors and other retail sellers
More convenient, comfortable and high capacity new design passenger coaches will be manufactured
Concession of 50% in second class for candidates appearing for main written examination conducted by SSC and UPSC
Facilitating travel by passengers
· Countrywide Train Enquiry call centres – Common Tel. No. 139
· Pilot project for providing hand held terminals to TTEs in reserved coaches to update PRS with onboard vacancies for giving reservation to passengers at ensuing stations without delay
· Expansion of reserved ticketing facilities
o PRS counters to be opened at premises of Post-offices and Defence organizations to be operated by them
o e-ticketing services through State Government’s e-services, Petrol pumps, Bank’s ATMs etc.
· Expansion of Unreserved Ticketing facilities
o UTS counters to be increased to 8000 in the next 2 years
o 6000 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines to be installed and linked to UTS in metropolitan cities in the next 2 years
· Coupon system for ticket distribution to be extended to Kolkata and Chennai
· Pilot project on Central Railway for issuing suburban tickets through multi-purpose smart cards
Passenger Amenities at Stations
300 more stations to be developed as modern stations.
Year 2007 declared ‘Cleanliness Year’ - Special campaign to ensure cleanliness in station complexes, passenger trains, railway lines, waiting rooms etc.
11th five-year plan – Railways’ new profile
Target of 1,100 MT freight loading and 840 crore passengers in the terminal year of 11th Plan.
Focus would be on doubling transport capacity and reducing unit cost of transportation by increasing volumes.
Short-term strategy- investing in low cost high return projects for eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring intensive asset utilization
Mid and long-term strategy – twin pronged approach of network expansion and modernization and technical upgradation
Public-private partnerships projects will play an important role.
Construction of Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Ccorridors at a cost of Rs 30,000 cr will commence from 2007-08 for completion during the 11th plan.
Pre-feasibility surveys for East-West, East-South, North-South and South-South Corridors
Most of the metre-gauge lines will be converted into broad-gauge by the end of this five-year plan.
High speed Passenger Corridors to be constructed to run trains at more than 300 km/hr speed.
Expansion of suburban services through completion of MUTP Phase-1 and initiating MUTP Phase-2 through joint funding
Efforts to provide air-conditioned suburban trains in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai and escalators at important stations
The production of rolling stock will be doubled compared with previous plan. Production of high-horse power and energy efficient locos to be increased.
Manifold increase in investment in IT to increase earnings, ensure effective utilization of human and physical resources and facilitate long-term policy decisions
Commercial portal to be developed over next 3 years for better yield management
Integrated time bound implementation of all FOIS modules by 2010.
ERP package for workshops, production units and select Zonal Railways
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