Rail Budget 2015: Major Take-Aways
Rail budget this year, like always, is a mixed bag with several hits and few misses.
While the "No Hike" in Passenger Fares brings reprieve, no proposal of new trains leave some disappointed.
Here we list the major points that directly impact the public !
- More General class coaches will be added in identified trains.
- Passenger and Freight carrying capacity to be expanded to accomodate the growing demand.
Safety and Security
- Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System to be installed on select routes.
- 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi-Fi to be provided at all B category stations. (The facility already exists or is in the process of being extended to all ‘A1’ and ‘A’ category stations.)
- This move will extend the wi-fi coverage to over 400 railway stations in the country.
- Mobile phone charging facilities would be provided in general class coaches and the number of charging facilities would be increased in sleeper class coaches.
- Indian Railways' Delhi Division is taking up a project for introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains on license fee basis.
- Depending on the response, the facility will be extended on all Shatabdi trains.
- Successful experiment of training of auto-rickshaw and taxi operators as tourist-guides on Konkan Railway will be replicated at major tourist stations.
- Possibility of offering some coaches in select trains connecting major tourist destinations to travel agencies on a revenue sharing model will also be explored.
- Centre will promote the Gandhi circuit to attract tourists.
- IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme to help farmers to learn about new farming and marketing technique.
Easy Ticketing and Refund
- Hand-held terminals will be provided to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs), which can be used for verification of passengers and downloading charts.
- This digital and environment-friendly move will not only save tons of paper, but also ease up the complicated process ticketing and charting.
- It will also enable TTEs to settle claims of refund on tickets quickly.
For Unreserved Class
- "Operation Five Minutes" to ensure "purchase of tickets" within 5-minutes for unreserved class Passengers.
- These tickets can be obtained from to-be-installed modified 'hot-buttons', coin vending machines and 'single destination teller' windows.
For Differently-abled Class
- For the differently-abled travellers, a special initiative is being launched whereby they can purchase concessional e-tickets after one-time registration.
- An Integrated Portal is to be launched to make it easy for the customers to access different services with a single interface.
- Railways is also planning to move towards crediting all refunds through the banking system.
- "SMS Alert" service to inform passengers in advance about the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations.
- The alert would reach passengers some 15/30 minutes before.
- Pan-India round-the-clock helpline number "138" to redress customers grievances.
- Railways intends to start this facility on a pilot project basis on Northern Railway from 1st March 2015.
- Another toll-free number "182" for receiving security related complaints.
- Inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight.
- To make it a reality; Speed of nine railway corridors will be increased from the existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively.
- Railways is in the process of setting up a full-fledged Railway University during 2015-16.