No Gimmicks ! No promises to get applauses!
No new trains were announced in the Railway Budget on Thursday by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu who assured Parliament that these would be announced in the ongoing session itself, pending completion of track renewal work and review of line capacity. "At present, due to over-utilised line capacity and backlog in track renewals, there are speed restrictions which lead to delay in running more number of trains. " The review will be completed soon so that we can announce new trains and increase frequency in this session," he said. Government's proposal of not announcing new service, arguably the first time in decades, comes despite heightened demands from states as well as Members of Parliament for announcing new trains in the Budget. And that is a realistic and practical approach too.The aroma coming out of the said words about initiatives to improve the catering and fresh food services is promising a tasty future for an Incredible and Swaach Railways.
Development! Development! Development
The major attraction behind this vision statement is the policy which is adapted to modernise the entire system through proper fund allocation. The total investment plan for 2015-19 period is for Rs. 856020 Crores which is designed for Network Decongestion( Rs. 199320 Cr) Network Expansion( Rs 193000 Cr), National Projects (Rs. 39000 Cr), Safety (Rs.127000 Cr), Information technology and Research (Rs. 5000 Cr), Rolling Stock (Rs. 102000 Cr), Passenger Amenities (Rs. 12500 Cr), High Speed Rail and elevated corridor(Rs.65000 Cr), Station redevelopment and logistics Parks(Rs.100000 Cr) and others (Rs.13200 cr). This is one of the massive restructuring and modernisation initiatives in the history of Indian Railways. This is a big chuck of money and going directly on modernisation.
The Action plan
The budget is designed with eleven major thrust areas and giving its prime most importance to cleanliness, passenger safety, amenities & technology up gradations. The budget is path breaking in several new aspects and giving thrust to technology and surveillance systems. The budget has given due importance for improving the existing infrastructure and redevelopment of stations. The budget envisages capacity augmentation through network expansion , expansion of freight handling capacity , improving train speed, introducing bullet trains, upgrading manufacturing facilities etc.
The plan budget up by 52%