Indian Railway Budget 2010-2011- SUMMARY
There will be no increase in the passenger fares of any class or category of trains. Freight tariffs will also remain the same for 2010-11. Service charges for e-tickets and freight charges for food-grains will be reduced. This was announced by the Minister of Railways, Kumari Mamata Banerjee in Parliament today while presenting Railway Budget for the new financial year.
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2010-11 in Parliament today, the Minister said that the Railway is committed to take up socially desirably projects connecting backward areas of the country. Surveys for 114 projects for such areas will be updated and surveys for 55 new lines will be taken up during the year. She said that 800 km. Gauge Conversion and 700 km of doubling the rail line will be achieved during the year besides a number of new projects on cost sharing with state governments or through PPP route. She also proposed 52 new train services to meet increasing demand of passengers, increase in frequency of 12 train services, extension of 21 trains and introduction of some special trains.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment to provide efficient railway network within the reach of common man, Kumari Mamata Banerjee said that the target has been set to add 25,000 km of new lines in next 10 years. A Special Task Force to clear proposals for investments within 100 days will be set up, policy guidelines will be made easy, simple and investment friendly so that business community can join hands to build partnership with the Railways. But the Minister clarified that this does not mean that Railway is going for privatization, it will remain a Government organization, she asserted.
Highlighting the initiatives taken recently, Railway Minister said that within a span of 7 months, significant achievements have been made. She announced that out of 120 new trains, extensions and increase in frequencies announced in last budget, 117 would be flagged off by the end of 2010. Special drive for improving passenger amenities and cleanliness has been taken up. The Catering Policy is under revision to provide better food, six bottling plants to be set up to provide clean drinking water. 94 new stations will be developed as Adarsh Stations and 10 more stations will be upgraded as World Class Stations. She also announced construction of another 93 Multi-functional Complexes and to develop multi-level parking complex through PPP route.
Declaring that passenger amenities is a very high priority of the Government, she said that a number of initiatives are being taken for this purpose. SMS updates of reservation status and movements of wagons to freight customers is being initiated. Double-decker train-sets matching the best in global standards will be introduced in two trains each from Delhi and Kolkata as a pilot project. Modern trolleys at all important stations with uniformed attendants will be introduced to assist senior citizens and women passengers for carrying their luggage. Mobile vans for issuing e-tickets will be extended to government medical college hospitals, High Courts, District Court, University campus, IT hubs, IITs and IIMs. The Railway Minister announced that railway reservation ticket centres will also be opened at district headquarters and village panchayats to give more facility to common man.
In order to bring more transparency in freight business, the Railway Minister announced RFID technology will be introduced for tracking of wagons, allotment of the rakes would be accessible through the web.
Highlighting efforts being made for safety and security of the passenger, Kumari Mamata Banerjee said that the railway is developing crashworthy coaches and locomotives and will provide automatic fire and smoke detection system in 20 pairs of long-distance trains as pilot project. Manning of further 1,000 level crossing will be taken up during the budget year. She announced that in coming five years, all the unmanned level crossing will be manned. 12 companies of women RPF, ‘Mahila Vahini’ will be raised for security of women passengers.
The Railway Minister said that as assured, recruitment policy of Railway Recruitment Boards has been reviewed. Now onwards, question papers will be made available in local state languages also besides Hindi, Urdu and English, examination will be held simultaneously by all RRBs for a particular post. She also announced waiving of examination fee for women candidates and those belonging to minority and economically backward classes.
In order to upgrade railway infrastructure, the Minister said that a centre for Railway Research will be set up at IIT, Kharagpur for research in key areas of railway technology and a state-of-the art advanced loco pilot training centre at Kharagpur and an advanced railway track training centre at Beleghata.
In order to promote industrial activity, Kumari Mamata Banerjee said that Railways would welcome investment through PPP mode for providing rail connectivity to important ports. Additional 2,000 kms. routes will be electrified within two years. Work on adding another 12,000 kms. in existing Optical Fibre Cable network of the Railways is in progress. The balance 15,000 kms. is proposed to be taken through PPP mode, thus covering entire railway network.
Kumari Mamata Banerjee proposed special trains – Sanskriti Express, across the country, to mark 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, Matribhoomi Express trains for ladies in Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai and Karmabhoomi trains, unreserved trains for common people between Darbhanga-Mumbai, Guwahati-Mumbai and New Jalpaiguri-Amritsar. Similarly, Janmabhoomi Trains specially for uniformed persons, between Ahmedabad and Udhampur, Bharat Tirth Trains for tourists connecting popular sites in different parts of the country will be introduced during the year.
The Railway Minister also proposed four new Durontos trains between Chandigarh and Amritsar, between Chennai and Coimbatore, between Puri and Howrah and between Howrah and Digha.
To reiterate her commitment for the common man, Kumari Mamata Banerjee announced that there will be no increase in passenger fares of any class and in freight tariffs. In spite of tight resource position, the Railways has also proposed to reduce an amount of Rs.100 per wagon in freight charges for food-grains and domestic use of kerosene as a gesture to common man.
The Minister also announced reduction of service charges maximum to Rs.10 for Sleeper Class and Rs.20 for AC Class. She also announced 100 per cent concession for cancer patients going for treatment together with an escort in AC 3 class. Technicians of regional film industry when traveling for film production related work will also be eligible for 75% concession in second sleeper and 50% concession on other classes in all trains. The Minister also announced that concession under Izzat scheme, for press correspondents and students of madrasas will continue.
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