Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Railway Budget 2013-14: Highlights

MSA WEB TEAM | 5:54 PM |

Headlines:
  • Highlights of Railway Budget 2013-14
  • Marginal Increase in Some Charges; Enhanced Reservation Fee Abolished
  • Major Thrust on Passenger Amenities and Cleanliness
  • ‘Anubhuti’ Coaches with latest modern facilities to be introduced in select trains
  • Quality Catering for all classes of passengers
  • Railway to Introduce Next Generation E-Ticketing System
  • Seven New Lines to be Constructed Doubling of ten Lines Approved
  • Frequency of 24 Trains Increased
  • Gross Traffic Receipts In 2013-14 Likely To Rise by Rs 18062 Crore Year 2013-14 To See Balance of Rs 12506 Crore
  • Outlay of Rs. 63,363 Crore Proposed in Rail Budget Operating Efficiency Likely to Improve to 87.8%
  • 1.52 Lakh Vacancies in Railways to Be Filled up this Year
  • ‘Fund Allocation for Rly Staff Quarters Enhanced by 50 %
  • Recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award & Dhyan Chand Award to be Provided Complimentary Card Passes for 1st Class/2nd AC
  • Land Acquisition for 2,800 Km Dedicated Freight Corridors Nearing Completion
  • Amenities for Differently-Abled Passengers: Escalators and Lifts, Braille Stickers, Wheelchair Friendly Coaches
  • Quality Catering for all classes of passengers
  • Educational Tourist Train ‘Azadi Express’ to be introduced
  • Thrust on Safety; Measures Include Modern Coaches, Elimination of Level Crossings
  • Stress on Security of Rail Passengers 10% Rpf Vacancies to be Reserved for Women
  • Parents of Posthumous Unmarried Bravery Awardees to be Extended Facility of Complimentary Card Pass in 1st Class/2nd AC Passes for Freedom Fighters to be Renewed Every 3 Years


Ministry of Railways 26-February, 2013
Highlights of Railway Budget 2013-14
·        67 new Express trains to be introduced
·        26 new passenger services, 8 DEMU services and 5 MEMU services to be introduced
·        Run of 57 trains to be extended
·        Frequency of 24 trains to be increased
·        First AC EMU rake to be introduced  on Mumbai suburban network in 2013-14
·        72 additional services to be introduced in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata
·        Rake length increased from 9 cars to 12 cars for 80 services in Kolkata and 30 services in Chennai
·        500 km new lines, 750 km doubling, 450 km gauge conversion targeted in 2013-14
·        First ever rail link to connect Arunachal Pradesh
·        Some Railway related activities to come under MGNREGA
·        For the first time 347 ongoing projects identified as priority projects with the committed funding
·        Highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 63,363 crore
·        Loan of Rs. 3000 crore repaid fully.
·         A new fund-Debt Service Fund set up to meet committed liabilities.
·        Freight loading of 1047 MT, 40 MT more than 2012-13
·        Passenger growth 5.2% in 2013-14
·        Gross Traffic Receipts – Rs. 1,43,742 crore i.e. an increase of 18,062 crore over RE, 2012-13
·        Dividend payment estimated at Rs. 6,249 crore
·        Operating Ratio to be 87.8% in 2013-14
·        Supplementary charges for super fast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge marginally increased
·        Fuel Adjustment Component linked revision for freight tariff to be implemented from 1st April 2013
·        Enhanced reservation fee abolished
·        Elimination of 10797 Level Crossings (LC) during the 12th Plan and no addition of new LCs henceforth
·        Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains
·        ‘Aadhar’ to be used for various passenger and staff related services
·        Internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours
·        E-ticketing through mobile phones
·        Project of SMS alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status
·        Next –Gen e-ticketing system to be rolled out : capable of handling 7200 tickets per minute against 2000 now,  1.20 lakh users simultaneously against 40,000 now
·        Introduction of executive lounge at 7 more stations: Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru
·        Introduction of ‘Azadi Express’ to connect places associated with freedom movement
·        Four companies of women RPF personnel set up and another 8 to be set up to strengthen the security of rain passengers, especially women passengers
·        10% RPF vacancies being reserved for women
·        1.52 lakh vacancies being filled up this year out of which 47000 vacancies have been earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged
·        Railways to impart skills to the youth in railway related trades in 25 locations
·        Provision of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains
·        Pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for coach cleanliness and real time feedback
·        Provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains
·        Providing free Wi-Fi facilities on several trains
·        Upgrading 60 stations as Adarsh Stations in addition to 980 already selected
·        Introduction of an ‘Anubhuti’ coach in select trains to provide excellent ambience and latest facilities and services
·        179 escalators and 400 lifts at A-1 and other major stations to be installed facilitating elderly and differently-abled
·         Affixing Braille stickers with layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly
·        Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell set up with a toll free number (1800 111 321)
·        Complimentary card passes to recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna & Dhyan Chand Awards to be valid for travel by 1st Class/2nd AC
·        Complimentary card passes to Olympic Medalists and Dronacharya Awardees for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
·        Travel by Duronoto Trains permitted on all card passes issued to sportspersons having facility of travel by Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
·        Facility of complimentary card passes valid in 1st class/2nd AC extended to parents of posthumous unmarried awardees of Mahavir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, President’s Police Medal for Gallantry and policy medal for Gallantry
·         Policy Gallantry awardees to be granted one complimentary pass every year for travel along with one companion in 2nd AC in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
·        Passes for freedom fighters to be renewed once in three years instead of every year.
·        Setting up of six more Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad
·        Setting up of a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for training in rail related electronics technologies
·        Setting up of a centralized training institute at Secunderabad--Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management
·        Five fellowships in national universities to be instituted to motivate students to study and undertake research on Railway related issues at M.Phil and Ph.D. levels
·        Fund allocation for staff quarters enhanced to Rs. 300 crore
·        Provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all divisional headquarters
·        Provision of water closets and air conditioners in the locomotive cabs to avoid stress being faced by loco pilots
(Release ID :92504)

Marginal Increase in Some Charges; Enhanced Reservation Fee Abolished
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced to effect marginal increase in some charges which are in the form of compensation for cost actually incurred by Railways in rendering relevant services.

While presenting Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that the charges have not been revised for last several years. These include supplementary charge for superfast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge.

Shri Bansal also announced to abolish the concept of enhanced reservation fee with a view to simplify the fee structure, having already discontinued development charge in January this year.

(Release ID :92518)


Major Thrust on Passenger Amenities and Cleanliness
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced several measures taken/proposed to be taken for improving passengers’ travel experience. These are:

i. Identification of 104 stations, serving a population of more than one mission or those serving places of religious/tourist importance for immediate attention to all aspects related to cleanliness;

ii. Progressive extension of bio-toilets on trains;

iii. Provision of concrete aprons on platforms with mechanized cleaning facilities. 200 stations have already been covered;

iv. Extension of On Board Housekeeping Scheme (OBHS) and Clean Trains Stations (VTSs) to more stations and trains;

v. Extension of unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs) and scheme of Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBSs);

vi. Setting up of six more Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad;

vii. Launching of a pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on-board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for prompt response for coach cleanliness and also to provide real time feedback;

viii. Setting up of 8-10 more mechanized laundries for quality washing of linen;

ix. Provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains for disseminating information to on-board passengers about approaching stations, train running, arrival platforms, etc;

x. Providing free Wi-Fi facility on several trains to cater to the increasing aspirations and requirement of youth and other valued customers;

xi. Upgrading another 60 stations as Adarsh Stations in addition to 980 already selected;

xii. Associate voluntary organizations for providing first aid services etc. at railway stations.

(Release ID :92497)


‘Anubhuti’ Coaches with latest modern facilities to be introduced in select trains
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that with increasing popularity of Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, there is also a demand for higher travel comfort.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, responding to this need, the Indian Railways will introduce one such coach in select trains which will provide an excellent ambience and latest modern facilities and services. He said, such coaches will be named ‘Anubhuti’ and will have commensurate fare structure.

(Release ID :92498)

Quality Catering for all classes of passengers
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that for effective quality control in railway catering, arrangements are being tied up with food testing laboratories in addition to third party audit.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, state-of-the-art base kitchens are proposed to be set up in railway premises for better monitoring of quality of meals. The Minister said, ISO certification will now be insisted upon for all base-kitchens. He said, a Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell with a toll free number – 1800 111 321 has started functioning from 18th January, 2013 to facilitate redressal of complaints/suggestions on realtime basis.

(Release ID :92501)




Railway to Introduce Next Generation E-Ticketing System
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has that his Ministry will put in place a Next Generation e-ticketing system to bring about a paradigm shift in internet rail ticketing. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, the new system will significantly improve the end user experience in respect of ease of use, response time as well as capacity. He said, the new system shall be able to support 7200 tickets per minute as against 2000 tickets per minute at present. It will support 1, 20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time against the present capacity of 40,000 users with capability to easily scale up as demand increases in future. The Minister said, the system will make use of advanced fraud control and security management tools thereby further improving fairness and transparency in disbursal of tickets.

The Minister also announced several IT initiatives for the benefit of passengers. These are:

i. Extending availability of the facility of internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours;

ii. Making e-ticketing possible through mobile phones;

iii. As a follow up to overwhelming response to Indian Railway website and Integrated Train Enquiry Service under “139”, a project of SMS Alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status is being rolled out shortly;

iv. Covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System (RTIS), whereby rail-users will be able to access information through nominated websites and mobile phones.
(Release ID :92500)


Seven New Lines to be Constructed Doubling of ten Lines Approved
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced construction of seven new lines and doubling of ten lines  while presenting the Railway Budget 2013-14 in Parliament today:-

New Lines
1.       Bhupdeopur-Raigarh (Mand Colliery) (through PPP);
2.       Gevra Road-Pendra Road (through PPP)
3.       Jaisalmer (Thiyat Hamira)-Sanu;
4.       Karaikal-Peralam;
5.       Rewari-Rohtak new line extension up to Makrauli;
6.       Sultanpur to Kadipur;
7.       Thanjavur-Pattukkottai.

Gauge conversion
Mavli-Bari Sadri section.

Doubling
1.       Alwar-Bandikui;
2.       Chennai Central-Basin Bridge Junction (5th & 6th lines);
3.       Danea-Ranchi Road;
4.       Dapper-Chandigarh;
5.       Garhwa Road-Ramna;
6.       Hajipur-Ramdayalu;
7.       Jarangdih- Danea;
8.       Palanpur- Samakhiali (through PPP);
9.       Rae Bareli - Amethi;
10.     Vatva-Ahmedabad (3rd line).


Electrification
1.       Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Rewari - Palanpur - Ahmedabad including Kalol-Gandhinagar-Khodiyar and Alwar-Bandikui-Jaipur-Phulera
2.      Jakhal-Hisar
3.      Jakhal-Dhuri-Ludhiana
4.      Rajpura-Dhuri-Lehra Mohabhat
5.      Singapur Road-Damanjodi

In addition, the Minister has also proposed to take up   22 projects of new lines and one gauge conversion project on socio-economic consideration and one doubling project after obtaining necessary approvals/clearances. These are:

New Lines
1.       Ajmer-Kota (Nasirabad-Jalindri)
2.       Anandnagar-Ghugli via Maharajganj
3.       Barwadih-Chirmiri
4.       Chickballapur-Gowribidanur.
5.       Chickballapur-Puttapurthy-Sri Satya Sai Nilayam
6.       Chola-Bulandshahar
7.       Cumbum-Proddatur
8.       Delhi-Sohna-Nuh-Firozpur Jhirka-Alwar
9.       Dimapur - Tizit
10.     Faizabad-Lalganj via Akbarganj, Maharajganj and Rae Bareli
11.     Firozpur-Patti
12.     Gadag-Wadi
13.     Hissar-Sirsa via Agroha & Fatehabad
14.     Kapilvastu-Basti via Bansi
15.     Kondapalli-Kothagudem
16.     Manuguru-Ramagundam
17.     Pirpainti-jasidih
18.     Pushkar-Merta
19.     Raipur-Jharsuguda
20.     Srinivasapura-Madanapalli
21.     Sriperambudur-Guduvanchery with spur to Irun, Kartukotti-Avadi.
22.     Yamuna Nagar-Chandigarh via Sadhaura, Narayangarh
 Gauge Conversion
Nagpur-Nagbhir

Doubling
   New Bongaigaon to Kamakhya via Rangia
  (Release ID :92507)


Frequency of 24 Trains Increased

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced increase in frequency of 24 trains while presenting the Railway Budget 2013-14 in Parliament today.  These trains are:-

1.        12547/12548 Agra Fort -Ahmedabad Express 3 to 7 days
2.        11453/11454 Ahrnedabad-Nagpur Express 2 to 3 days
3.        22615/22616 Coimbatore-Tirupati Express 3 to 4 days
4.        14037/14038 Delhi-Pathankot Express 3 to 6 days
5.        19409/19410 Gorakhpur - Ahmedabad Express 1 to 2 days
6.        13465/13466 Howrah - Malda Town Express 6 to 7 days
7.        12159/12160 Jabalpur - Amravati Express 3 to 7 days
8.        11103/11104 Jhansi - Bandra (T) Express 1 to 2 days
9.        19325/19326 Indore - Amritsar Express 1 to 2 days
10.      12469/12470 Kanpur - Jammu Tawi Express 1 to 2 days
11.      12217/12218 Kochuveli - Chandigarh Express 1 to 2 days
12.      12687/12688 Madurai - Dehradun/Chandigarh Express 1 to 2 days
13.      13409/13410 Malda Town - Jamalpur Express 6 to 7 days
14.       17213/17214 Narsapur - Nagersol (Near Sainagar Shirdi) Express 2 to 7 days
15.      12877/12878 Ranchi-New Delhi Garib Rath Express 2 to 3 days
16.       18509/18510 Visakhapatnam - Hazoor Saheb Nanded Express 2 to 3 days
17.       22819/22820 Visakhapatnam - Lokmanya Tilak (T) Express 2 to 7 days
18.      18309/18310 Sambalpur-Hazoor Saheb Nanded Express 2 to 3 days
19.      12751/12752 Secunderabad - Manuguru Express 3 to 7 days
20.       12629/12630 Yesvantpur - Hazrat Nizamuddun Sampark Kranti Express 2 to 4 days
21.       56221/56222/56525/56526 Bangalore - Tumkur Passenger 6 to 7 days
22.      56321 Kanniyakumari-Tirunelveli Passenger 6 to 7 days
23.      56325 Nagercoil - Kanniyakumari Passenger 6 to 7 days
24.      56312 Tirunelveli - Nagercoil Passenger 6 to 7 days

(Release ID :92506)




Gross Traffic Receipts In 2013-14 Likely To Rise by Rs 18062 Crore Year 2013-14 To See Balance of Rs 12506 Crore
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that a target of 1047 MT of revenue earning originating traffic has been kept for 2013-14, which is about 40 MT more than the current year. The freight earnings target has accordingly been set at Rs 93,554 crore, a growth of 9%.

The number of passengers is expected to increase by 5.2% and the passenger fare earnings target has been kept at Rs 42,210 cr.

While Presenting the Railways Budget for 2013-14 he said that factoring in the impact of expected growth of 11% and 10% in other coaching and sundry earnings respectively are expected to be Rs 1,43,742 cr, an increase of Rs 18,062 cr over the revised estimates of 2012-13.

Ordinary working expenses have been fixed at Rs 96,500 cr i.e. 14% higher than the current year. After appropriations to various funds, the year 2013-14 is likely to see a balance of Rs. 12506 cr in the Railway funds.
(Release ID :92519)


Fuel-Linked Revision in Only Freight Tariff From 1st April 2013
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced the implementation of Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC)- linked revision in only freight tariff from 1st April 2013. As regards passenger fares, since these were revised only in January this year, the Ministry does not indent to pass on the additional burden to them now and railways will absorb the impact of Rs 850 cr on this account.

While presenting Rail Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that in the Budget 2012-13, his predecessor had proposed to segregate fuel component in tariffs as FAC. As then suggested he proposes that this component be dynamic in nature and change in either direction with the change in fuel cost, say twice a year.

(Release ID :92517)



Outlay of Rs. 63,363 Crore Proposed in Rail Budget Operating Efficiency Likely to Improve to 87.8%
An outlay Rs. 63,363 crore has been proposed for 2013-14 rail budget which will be financed through Gross Budgetary Support of Rs. 26,000 crore, Railway’s Share in Road Safety Fund of Rs. 2,000 crore and internal resources of Rs. 14,260 crore.

Highlighting the importance of financially sustainability of Indian Railways for its efficient upkeep, operation and maintenance, Railway Minister, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal said that we must be realistic in setting targets. He said that during the year the Railways shall have to borrow Rs. 15,103 crore from market and shall have to mobilize Rs. 6,000 crore through Public Private Partnership(PPP) route for its operations proposed in the Budget.

Expecting more revenue through freight and passenger tariff , the Railway Minister said that freight earning is expected to Rs. 93,554 crore, 9% higher than the previous budget year. Similarly passengers tariff earning is expected to increase to Rs. 42,210 crore.

Shri Bansal said that in view of expected growth of 11% and 10% in Other Coaching and Sundry earnings respectively, the Gross Tariff Receipts are expected to be Rs. 1,43,742 crore . While Ordinary Working Expenses for the year are expected to Rs. 96,500 crore. He said that the appropriation to the Pension Fund is estimated to Rs. 22,000 crore and the appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund has been kept at Rs. 7,500 crore.

Shri Bansal expressed the hope that Operating Ratio during the budget year will improve to 87.8% from the Revised Estimate of Rs. 88.8% and Railway would be able to close the financial year with the balance of Rs. 12,506 crore to Railway Funds.
(Release ID :92510)



1.52 Lakh Vacancies in Railways to Be Filled up this Year
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced that the Ministry of Railways will make concerted efforts to fill up approximately 1.52 lakh vacancies this year. While presenting Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today, he said that it is a measure of popularity of Railways as an employer that a staggering 2.2 crore applications were received.

For the first time, Railways recruitment examinations were held at more than 60 cities across the country. In the process, a backlog of about 47,000 vacancies earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged is likely to get cleared.


‘Fund Allocation for Rly Staff Quarters Enhanced by 50 %
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced enhancement of the fund allocation under Railways staff quarters by 50% over the previous year to provide Rs 300 crore. While presenting the Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that construction of staff quarters has been hampered by funding constraints. Encouraged by the success of Ministry of Urban Development in constructing staff quarters through PPP mode, his Ministry proposes to adopt the same in the Railways.

He announced the provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all Divisional headquarters.

He further announced that condition of barracks would be improved to provide better living condition to the RPF personnel.

(Release ID :92512)


‘Fund Allocation for Rly Staff Quarters Enhanced by 50 %
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced enhancement of the fund allocation under Railways staff quarters by 50% over the previous year to provide Rs 300 crore. While presenting the Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that construction of staff quarters has been hampered by funding constraints. Encouraged by the success of Ministry of Urban Development in constructing staff quarters through PPP mode, his Ministry proposes to adopt the same in the Railways.

He announced the provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all Divisional headquarters.

He further announced that condition of barracks would be improved to provide better living condition to the RPF personnel.

(Release ID :92512)



Railways to Impart Skills to Youth in Railway Related Trades in 25 Locations

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal while presenting Railways Budget for 2013-14, announced that his Ministry would impart skills to the youth in Railway related trades in 25 locations spread across the length and breadth of the country with a view to contributing to the national skill development programme of the Government.

          These locations are: Agartala, Alwar, Ankleshwar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Dimapur, Imphal, Jagdalpur, Jais, Katihar, Kazipet, Kollam, Koraput, Kumding, Mangalore, Murshidabad, Nagpur, Naharlagun, Pathankot, Ranchi, Ratlam, Shimla, Sirsa, Srinagar and Tiruchchirappalli.

          He also announced the proposal to setup a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for imparting training in rail related electronics technologies.


Recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award & Dhyan Chand Award to be Provided Complimentary Card Passes for 1st Class/2nd AC
The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced that the recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Dhyan Chand Award shall be provided facility of Complimentary Card passes valid for travel by 1st class/2nd AC.

While presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that the Complimentary Card passes being issued to Olympic Medalists and Dronacharya Awardees shall also be valid for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains, as in the case of Arjuna Awardees.

He also announced that the travel by Duronto trains shall also be permitted on all Card passes issued to sportspersons who have the facility of travel by Rajdani/Shatabdi trains.

(Release ID :92514)

Land Acquisition for 2,800 Km Dedicated Freight Corridors Nearing Completion

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that land acquisition for nearly 2,800 km of the eastern and western freight corridors is almost complete.

The first major civil construction contract on the 343 km Kanpur-Khurja section of the eastern corridor has already been awarded and by the end of 2013-14, construction contract to cover up to 1,500 km on the two corridors would be awarded and the work started. Preliminary Engineering-cum-Traffic Studies (PETS) have been taken up on four future Dedicated Freight Corridors.

(Release ID :92503)

First Ever Rail Link to connect Arunachal Pradesh This Year

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that for the first time the State of Arunachal Pradesh has been brought into the rail network and the railways will commission the Harmuti-Naharlagun line this year.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said that works on the new line railway project to connect state of Manipur are in full swing. The Minister said, the gauge conversion work on Lumding-Silchar and Rangia-Murkongselek is on fast track. The national project of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla and other projects of strategic importance will be taken up on top priority.

(Release ID :92505)

Amenities for Differently-Abled Passengers: Escalators and Lifts, Braille Stickers, Wheelchair Friendly Coaches

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that to facilitate the boarding of trains and exit from the stations for the differently-abled and the elderly, the Railways proposes to take several measures. These include provision of 179 escalators and 400 lifts at A-1 and other major stations, affixing Braille stickers indicating the layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, in order to provide an employment avenue to the disabled people, he proposed to reserve a specified number of Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBS) for them, keeping in view the fact that the PCOs at stations have become largely redundant after the mobile revolution in India.

(Release ID :92499)



Quality Catering for all classes of passengers

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that for effective quality control in railway catering, arrangements are being tied up with food testing laboratories in addition to third party audit.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, state-of-the-art base kitchens are proposed to be set up in railway premises for better monitoring of quality of meals. The Minister said, ISO certification will now be insisted upon for all base-kitchens. He said, a Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell with a toll free number – 1800 111 321 has started functioning from 18th January, 2013 to facilitate redressal of complaints/suggestions on realtime basis.

(Release ID :92501)


Educational Tourist Train ‘Azadi Express’ to be introduced

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that he proposes to run an educational tourist train called ‘Azadi Express’ to enable youth of the country to travel to important places connected with the freedom movement. He said, the train will be made attractive and affordable through concessional fares.

Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, to make the experience of tourists more pleasant, the following steps are envisaged:

i. Following popularity of Executive Lounge at New Delhi, setting up of such facility at seven more stations: Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru;

ii. Launching a multi-modal travel package with cooperation of State Government of Jammu & Kashmir enabling passengers to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar and Baramulla on a common rail-bus ticket;

iii. With the commissioning of railway line up to Katra very soon, feasibility of issuing ‘yatra parchis’ to pilgrims travelling by rail at the time of booking of the railway ticket is being explored in coordination with Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

(Release ID :92502)


Thrust on Safety; Measures Include Modern Coaches, Elimination of Level Crossings

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced several measures to strengthen safe operation of trains. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said Safety is a necessary mandate for running trains and rail passengers deserve safe and comfortable travel. The measures taken/proposed to be taken are as follows:

i. Elimination of 10,797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and not adding any new Level Crossing;

ii. Continued thrust on improved signaling for not only ensuring much better safety for train operations but also enhancing the track capacity;

iii. Introduction of Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) on automatic signaling systems;

iv. Following successful completion of initial testing, the indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is proposed to be put to rigorous trials;

v. Upgradation of track structure using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail-panels and improved flash butt welding technology;

vi. Induction of Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains (SPART) with speed potential of 160/200 kmph on trial basis with a view to putting in place a fast and reliable disaster management system;

vii. Progressive induction of crash-worthy LHB coaches having anti-climb feature;

viii. Rehabilitation of 17 bridges which have been identified as distressed to be completed over the next one year.

The Minister said, with a view to provide long term prospective and focus attention for enhancing safety, he proposes to initiate an exercise of making Corporate Safety Plan for a ten year period (2014-24)

(Release ID :92493)


Stress on Security of Rail Passengers 10% Rpf Vacancies to be Reserved for Women

The Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has said that to strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially women passengers, Railways have already created four companies of women RPF personnel and another eight would be set up. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he said, recruitment to RPF is being conducted with 10% vacancies reserved for women. He said, the presence of women RPF personnel will be further strengthened with the field units.

The Minister said, many trains are being escorted by Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force in sensitive sections. Further, the Ladies Special local trains in Metropolitan Cities are being escorted by lady RPF Staff. Shri Bansal said, security helpline numbers have been made available on several zonal railways to facilitate passengers in reporting any untoward incidence for immediate intervention. 
(Release ID :92496)


Parents of Posthumous Unmarried Bravery Awardees to be Extended Facility of Complimentary Card Pass in 1st Class/2nd AC Passes for Freedom Fighters to be Renewed Every 3 Years
The Union Minister of Railways Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal has announced the extension of the facility of Complimentary Card pass valid in 1st Class/2nd AC to the parents of posthumous unmarried awardees of Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, President’s Police Medal for Gallantry and Police Medal for Gallantry.

While presenting the Railways Budget for 2013-14 in Parliament today he announced that Police Gallantry awardees shall now be granted one Complimentary Pass every year for travel along with one companion in 2 AC in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains.

Shri Bansal also announced that the requirement of renewal of the passes for freedom fighters is being raised to three years. Presently, freedom fighters are required to renew their passes every year which causes inconvenience to many of them in an advanced age.

(Release ID :92515)

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