“What is not viable today, if connected, will become viable tomorrow”
Enunciated Mamata Banerjee as she presented the Railway Budget for the second time for UPA-II. Although the budget isn’t the greatest fete of the year, however, it did save itself from being extravagantly populist.
“Our objective is inclusive growth”, muttered the minister, outlining her focus on the social responsibility of projects rather than their economic viability. So, does it have something for the aam aadmi? Certainly. Miss Banerjee played the trick by keeping the passenger fares and freight tariff untouched. While talking of the Railways network expansion, she maintained her focus on the common man. She announced a cut in service charges on sleeper class and AC class fares, to Rs. 10 and Rs 20. Likewise, any cancer patient, going for treatment would be given a concession of 100% in 3rd AC and sleeper class tickets. The concession under Izzat scheme, for press correspondents and students of Madras would also continue. She promised 54 new trains in FY11, ten new Durantos, some double-decker trains and suburban trains for Mumbaites.
Ms Banerjee called for private partnership in Indian Railways, but ruled out the possibility of privatization. “Our target is to add 25,000 kms of new lines in the next ten years, as outlined in Vision 2020”; “the business community should come and join hands to build partnerships with the Railways”. Talking about the non completion of previous year’s projects, she attached the reason of project delays to the “typical negative approach”. In order to avoid this situation in the future, she announced the setting up of special structures for the new business model that would invite domestic investment through PPP mode. She spoke at length about the setting up of a new Special Task Force that would clear proposals for investment within 100 days.
On the employment front, she declared that the recruitment policy of the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) has been reviewed and the examination fee for women candidates and those belonging to minority and economically backward classes, having annual family income less than Rs 50,000 would be waived. The question papers would be set in Hindi, Urdu and English as well as in local State languages.
On the investment front, the Annual Plan outlay for the year 2010-11 has been proposed at Rs 41,426 crore, which is the highest ever plan investment.
The real catalyst of socio-economic development, also the highlight of the budget, was ‘Vision 2020’. The vision aligns the Indian Railway Network on a higher growth trajectory. So far, this seems to be the most desirably attainable challenge for the Indian Industry. Her Vision distributed equal attention to the alarming needs of strategic growth, inclusive development, employment generation and environmental sustainability. Although the budget did not fetch the anticipated brouhaha, it did prove to be promising and pragmatic at the same time. By keeping away from passenger fares, she did manage to save her ‘party image’ for the upcoming elections. The farsightedness in attaching Indian Railways as a direct contributor to the attainment of a double-digit GDP is remarkable. Without losing grip on the issues of growth and development, the budget this year, was a clean show. Enclosed below, are the highlights of the budget.
Highlights of the Indian Railway Budget 2010-11
Â· Economic viability and Social responsibility — main consideration for taking up of the projects.
Â· ‘Inclusive growth and expansion of rail network’ for development of the country.
Â· Special Task Force to clear proposals for investments within 100 days.
Â· A separate structure will be created within the Railways for implementation of the business models.
Â· Of the 120 new trains, extensions and increase in frequencies announced, 117 would be flagged off by the end of March 2010.
Â· Recruitment policy of the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) has been reviewed.
Â· RRB examination fee for woman candidates and those belonging to minority and economically backward classes waived.
Â· All question papers to be set in Hindi, Urdu, English and in local State languages and examination for a particular post will be held on the same date simultaneously by all RRBs.
Â· Izzat Scheme, implemented within three months of announcement.
Â· Work initiated in all the 67 Multi-functional Complexes (MFCs).
Development of Adarsh Stations started in phases.
Â· 94 stations to be upgraded as Adarsh Stations
Â· 10 more stations identified to be converted as World Class Stations
Â· Construction of additional 93 Multi Functional Complexes
Â· Multi-level parking through PPP route.
Â· Six clean drinking water bottling plants to be set up through PPP for providing cheap bottled drinking water.
Â· SMS updates of reservation status and punctuality of trains to passengers,
Â· SMS updates on the movement of wagons to freight customers.
Â· RFID technology for tracking of wagons
Â· to provide modern trolleys at all important stations to be handled by uniformed attendants for senior citizens and ladies.
Â· Allotment of iron ore rakes to be rationalised scientifically and would be accessible through the web.
Â· Introduction of e-ticket based mobile vans for issuing tickets.
Safety and Security
Â· Automatic fire and smoke detection system to be introduced in 20 long distance trains.
Â· All the unmanned LCs to be manned within five years.
Â· 12 companies of women RPF personnel named ‘Mahila Vahini’ to be raised.
Â· Railways first recipient of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar
Â· Five Sports Academies at Delhi, Secunderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai to be setup.
Â· Astro-turfs to be provided at more places for hockey.
Â· Railways will be lead partners of Common Wealth Games.
Â· Railways to run a Commonwealth exhibition train.
Culture and Heritage
Â· To set up a Railway Cultural & Heritage Promotion Board for coordinating and supervising all related activities on the railways.
Â· To set up Rabindra Museum at Howrah and Gitanjali Museum at Bolpur to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.
Â· To set up Shambhu Mitra Cultural Complex with performing arts and a music academy at Howrah.
Staff Welfare and Health
Â· A new scheme “House for All” to be launched, to provide residences to all railway employees in the next ten years with the help of Ministry of Urban Development.
Â· MOU entered with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Human Resource Development for setting up of hospitals and educational institutions on surplus railway land.
Â· To set up about 522 hospitals and diagnostic centres, 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas, 10 residential schools on the pattern of Navodaya Vidyalaya, model degree colleges and technical and management institutions of national importance to benefit railway employees and their children.
Â· To set up 50 crÃ¨ches for children of women employees and 20 hostels. Railways will also provide more numbers of community centres and stadiums.
Â· Contribution to Staff Benefit Fund to be enhanced to Rs 500 per employee.
Â· Scope of safety-related retirement scheme to be expanded to cover all safety category staff with a grade pay of Rs 1800.
Â· To extend Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to all licensed porters, vendors and hawkers, from unorganised sector and socially challenged.
Â· To set up a state-of-the-art advanced loco pilot training centre at Kharagpur, an advanced railway track training centre at Beleghata and four multi-disciplinary training centres.
Â· A Centre for Railway Research to be set up at IIT, Kharagpur. To establish strong research partnerships with premier institutes like IITs, NITs, CSIR and DRDO.
Â· To modernize and augment the capacity of CLW to 275 locomotives.
Â· A Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) factory to be set up at Sankrail.
Â· Second unit to be installed at ICF.
Â· Wagon repair shop to be set up at Badnera.
Â· Centres of Excellence in Wagon Prototyping to be set up at Kharagpur Workshop.
Â· A new Rail Axle Factory to be set up in New Jalpaiguri under PPP/JV mode.
Â· A Design Development and Testing Centre for Wheels to be set up at RWF, Bangalore.
Â· A new MLR workshop of 250 coach capacity to be set up at Anara (Adra).
Â· Five state-of-the-art wagon factories to set up at Secunderabad, Barddhaman, Bhubaneshwar/Kalahandi, Guwahati and Haldia under PPP/JV mode.
Â· Two workshops for POH of high axle load wagons to be set up in Maharashtra and Dankuni.
Â· Kisan Vision Project initiated at six locations, namely Dankuni, Mechheda, Nasik, New Jalpaiguri, New Azadpur and Singur as pilot projects.
Â· To set up a refrigerated container factory on PPP mode at Budge Budge.
Â· A modified wagon investment scheme for high capacity general purpose and special purpose wagons to be introduced.
Â· Private operators to be permitted to invest in infrastructure and run special freight train.
Â· To set up automobile and ancillary hubs at 10 locations.
Â· Railways to distribute 2.6 million CFLs to railway employees.
Â· To introduce ten rakes with green toilets and install on diesel locomotives a GPS-based optimised driver guidance system.
Â· To set up 10 Rail Eco-parks to conserve, protect and promote Railways’ wetlands and forest areas.
Â· Preliminary Engineering-cum-Traffic Survey (PETS) to be taken up for north-south, east-west, east-south and south-south DFCs.
Â· Six high speed passenger corridors identified, to be executed through PPP mode. To set up a National High Speed Rail Authority for planning, standard setting, implementing and monitoring these projects.
Â· To provide rail link between Akhaura on Bangladesh side and Agartala on Indian side.
Â· To new Railway projects viz., Jogbani (India) — Biratnagar (Nepal) new line and Jaynagar (India) — Bijalpur (Nepal) gauge conversion with extension up to Bardibas(Nepal) have been taken up to improve transport infrastructure between the two countries.
Financial Performance in 2009-10.
Â· Loading target of 882 MT likely to surpassed by 8 MT in 2009-10.
Â· Gross Traffic Receipts kept at Rs. 88,356 crore, i.e an increase of 10.7%.
Â· The full impact of VI CPC fully absorbed within the Railway resources.
Â· The current dividend liability to be fully discharged.
Â· Annual Plan kept at Rs 40,284 cr.
Budget Estimates 2010-11.
Â· Freight loading targeted at 944 MT — an increment of 54 MT; number of passengers likely to grow by 5.3 %.
Â· Gross Traffic Receipts estimated at Rs. 94,765 crore, i.e Rs 6490 cr more than 2009-10.
Â· The dividend payable to general revenues kept at Rs 6608 cr.
Â· Budgeted operating ratio 92.3%.
Annual Plan 2010-11
Â· Highest ever Plan Outlay at Rs 41,426 cr., an increase of Rs 1142 cr over 2009-10.
Â· New Lines — Rs 4411cr.
Â· Passenger Amenities—Rs 1302 cr.
Â· Metro Projects — Rs 1001cr.
Â· Aquisition of 18000 wagons.
Â· Additional budgetary support of Rs 3701 cr sought for 11 National Projects.
Â· Surveys for 114 socially desirable projects connecting backward areas to be taken up.
Â· 54 Surveys for new lines, 2 for gauge conversion, 7 for doubling and 5 others to be taken up.
Â· Master Plan for the development of rail infrastructure in the Northeast region to be drawn up in consultation with the Northeast Development Council and the state authorities concerned.
Â· 1021 km of New Lines to be completed. 9 new new line projects announced.
Â· 800 km of gauge conversion and 700km of doubling targeted.
Â· Several projects being taken up on cost sharing basis with State Governments and on PPP mode.
Â· Technicians of regional film industry when travelling for film production related work to be eligible for 75% concession in Second Sleeper and 50% concession in higher classes in all trains.
Â· Cancer patients going for treatment to get 100% concession in 3 AC and Sleeper Class
Â· 50% concession to spouse of the correspondents extended to the companion of those correspondents who do not have a spouse, and dependent children up to 18 years.
Â· Service charge on e-tickets to be reduced to Rs.10 for Sleeper Class and Rs.20 for AC Class.
Â· Reduction of Rs 100 per wagon in freight charges for food-grains for domestic use and kerosene.
New Suburban services
Â· 101 new suburban services to be introduced in Mumbai area.
Â· More services to start in Chennai and Kolkata areas.
Â· Sanskriti Express to run across the country to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore. It is also proposed to take this train to Bangladesh.
Â· Ladies special trains to be renamed as ‘Matrabhoomi specials’.
Â· 3 unreserved trains named as ‘Karambhoomi trains’ to be introduced.
Â· A new weekly express train service ‘Janmabhoomi express’ to start between Ahmedabad and Udhampur .
Â· Special tourist trains called “Bharat Tirth” to start on 16 routes.
Â· 6 long route Duronto trains and 4 short distance Duronto day trains to be introduced.
Other New Train Services
Â· 54 new train services to be introduced.
Â· 28 new passenger train services, 9 MEMU and 8 DEMU services to start.
Â· Extension of 21 trains and increase in frequency of 12 trains announced.REPORT THIS POST