Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presented the Interim Rail Budget 2014-15 in Parliament on 12 February 2014 amidst uproar over the Telengana Bill and was forced to cut short his speech. The Minister said 17 new premium trains and 38 new express trains will be introduced. He left passenger fares and freight rates unchanged. The budget is for the first four months of the of the fiscal year 2014-15 that begins in April 2014. Mr Kharge's maiden rail budget comes just months away from the general elections.
Main Highlights of Interim Rail Budget
Measures for improving Safety & Security: Induction of indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System; Development of crashworthy coaches; Provision of Vigilance Control Device in all locomotives; Multi-tier protection for electric circuits; Portable fire extinguishers in coaches; and Induction based cooking to replace LPG in pantry cars
High Speed Trains: Joint feasibility study by India and Japan for Mumbai – Ahmedabad Corridor to be co-financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency; and Business Development Study by SNCF for Mumbai – Ahmedabad corridor.
Green Initiatives: Railway Energy Management Company becomes functional. Windmill and solar power plants to be set up with 40% subsidy from Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.; Green Curtains along the track close to major stations; Pilot work at Agra and Jaipur in progress; and Coverage of Bio-toilets in 2500 coaches and would be increased progressively.
Passenger amenities: 51 Jan-Ahaar outlets for Janta Meals; 48 passenger escalators commisionsed at stations and 61 more being installed; air-conditioned EMU services in Mumbai from July 2014; information display system in important trains to indicate stations & arrival time.; Upgradation Scheme extended to AC Chair Car and Executive Chair car passengers.; Premium AC Special train introduced in Delhi – Mumbai Sector with shorter advance reservation period and dynamically varying premium over tatkal fare.
Freight related measures: Parcel Terminals & Special Parcel Trains with scheduled timings; New policy on parcels to encourage transportation of milk; New concept of hub and spoke for parcel business; and Third party warehousing in Special Parcel Terminals envisaged.
State of Meghalaya and capital of Arunachal Pradesh to be on Railway Map.
Gauge Conversion of strategically important 510 km Rangiya – Murkongselek line in Assam to be completed.
Independent Rail Tariff Authority set-up to advise on fixing of fares and freight, to engage all stake-holders
Budget Estimates 2014-15: Loading target of 1101 Million Tonnes; Gross Traffic Receipts targeted at 160775 crore Rupees with Passenger Earnings (45255 crore Rupees), Goods (105770 crore Rupees), Other Coaching & Sundry Earnings (9700 crore Rupees); Ordinary Working Expenses placed at 110649 crore Rupees, higher by 13589 crore Rupees; The entire Dividend of 9117 crore Rupees to General Exchquer will be paid; and Operating Ratio budgeted at 89.8%; 90.2% Operating Ratio in 2012-13 and Operating Ratio likely to be 90.8% in 2013-14
Annual Plan for 2014-15 envisaged at 64305 crore rupees with a Budgetary Support of 30223 crore Rupees , Internal Resources of 10418 crore Rupees and Extra Budgetary Resources of 19805 crore Rupees.
New Surveys: 19 New Lines & 5 Doubling
New Trains: 17 Premium trains; 38 Express trains; 10 Passenger trains; 4 MEMU; and 3 DEMU