Railway budget: No passenger, freight fare hike
The 2016-17 railway budget spared passengers and goods movement from any increase in tariffs. Unlike last year when he tweaked freight rates, Prabhu made no changes either in passenger fares or freight rates. The budget proposed to increase lower berth quota for senior citizens by 50%. It also proposed to introduce sub-quota of 33% for women under all reserved categories.
Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu presented his second railway budget. He announced a plan to transform railways using a three-pronged approach: New revenues, new norms and new structure. New revenues: Need to rethink tariff hikes and come up with new sources of revenues. New norms: Each rupee spent will be re-examined for optimal productivity, zero-based budgeting. New structure: Revisit conventional ways of solving issues.
Railways' operating ratio for FY17 will be 92% as against 90% in current year. Railways aim to hit revenues of Rs. 1.84 lakh crore during FY2016-17. Rs. 1.21 lakh crore will be spent on capital expenditure by railways during 2016-17, a 20 per cent hike in plan outlay over last year. Railways will save Rs. 8,720 crore in 2015-16 on fuel cost and power.
Operating ratio is an organization's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. This means that if the Railways operating ratio is 90 per cent, railways will spend 90 paise for each rupee of revenue.
New super fast trains, Humsafar, Tejas and Uday were announced by the railway minister. Humsafar will be an air-conditioned train for budget passengers. Tejas is the future of train travel with 130 kmph speed and on-board WiFi services. Uday will be an overnight double decker service for busiest routes. There would also be "Antyodaya Express" and "Deen Dayal coaches" for the common man.
As a part of Make in India initiative, two new locomotive factories will be set up to add to the global supply chain at a cost of Rs.40,000 crore.
The budget proposes 17,000 bio toilets and additional toilets in 475 stations before close of this financial year. The cleaning of toilets can now be requested through SMS. Further, disabled-friendly toilets will be added in 11 Class-A stations. A "Saarthi seva" will be introduced to help the old and disabled at stations. Bar-coded tickets will be introduced at select stations on a pilot basis.