Railway Budget 2014-15: New Initiatives

Union Railway Minister in his Railway Budget 2014-15 introduced certain initiatives for the lifeline of India, Railways.

Jul 9, 2014 17:17 IST
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Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda on 8 July 2014 presented the Railway Budget 2014-15 in the Parliament. In the budget he announced introduction of several trains on different routes pan India. Apart from this, the budget also saw certain new initiatives for Railways, the lifeline of India.

Some of the major proposed initiatives include

• Private investment in Rail Infrastructure through Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment
• Works to be re-prioritized with more focus on doubling and tripling to decongest the over-utilized network
• Recent fare and tariff hike to mop additional revenue of about 8000 crore rupees
• Alternate resource mobilization need to be explored as enlisted
a) Leveraging Railway PSU Resources by bringing in their investible surplus funds in infrastructure projects of Railways
b) Domestic investments and FDI in rail infrastructure
c) Pursuing Public Private Partnership
• Near Plan-holiday approach
• Prioritizing and setting timelines for completion of the ongoing projects
• Decision Support System for project implementation
• Strategic partnerships and transparency in procurements
• Aggressive indigenization of imported products
• Developing locomotives, coaches and wagon leasing Market

Green Initiatives
• Harnessing solar energy by utilizing roof top spaces of stations, railway buildings and land including through PPP mode
• Use of bio-diesel up to 5% of total diesel fuel consumption
• Increasing bio-toilets in sufficient numbers in trains to mitigate the problem of direct discharge of human waste on the tracks and platforms

Rail Tourism
• Eco-Tourism and Education Tourism in Northeastern States
• Special Packaged trains on identified pilgrim circuits like Devi Circuit, Jyotirling Circuit, Jain Circuit, Christian Circuit, Muslim/Sufi Circuit, Sikh Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Famous Temple Circuit, etc.
• Tourist Train from Gadag to Pandarpur via Bagalkot, Bijapur and Solapur covering the pilgrim and tourist places of Karnataka and Maharashtra
• Tourist Train from Rameshwaram covering pilgrim and tourist places like Bengaluru, Chennai, Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar
• Special Train featuring life and work of Swami Vivekananda

IT Initiatives including revamping reservation system

• Revamping Railway Reservation System into Next Generation e-Ticketing System
• E-ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minutes to allow 120000 simultaneous users
• Augmentation of Coin operated Automatic Ticket Vending Machines
• Provision of platform tickets and unreserved tickets over internet
• Shift towards large scale integrated computerization of major functions of Indian Railways to take place
a) Paperless offices in Indian Railways in 5 years
b) Wi-fi Services in A1 and A category stations and in select trains
c) Real-time tracking of trains and rolling stock
d) Mobile based Wakeup Call System for passengers
e) Mobile based Destination Arrival Alert

Station Navigation Information System

• Extension of Dual Display Fare Repeaters at all the Ticket Counters through PPP
• Digital reservation charts at Stations (Bangalore model)
• Extension of Computerized Parcel Management System
• Extension of logistics support to various e-commerce Companies by providing designated pick-up centres at identified Stations
• Providing education to children of Railway staff at remote locations through Railtel OFC (optical fibre cable) network

Other Initiatives
• Setting up of Project Management Groups consisting of professionals and State Government Officials at Railway Board and Zonal level for coordinating and expediting project management with respective State Governments
• Establishing Innovations Incubation Centre to harness the ideas generated from staff and converting them into practical solutions
• Summer internships for under-graduates of engineering and management studies
• Structural Reforms – separation of overlapping roles of policy formulation and implementation
• Top priority to transparency in administration and execution of projects
• Adopting strategic procurement policies to make procurement process transparent and most efficient
• Status of ongoing projects to be made available online
• E-procurement to be made compulsory for procurements worth 25 lakhs and more
• Launching online registration of demands for wagons in next two months for facilitating online payment of Wagon registration fee
• Initiating process for ERR (Electronic Railway Receipt) during the year
• Introduction of corrosion-free wagons with low tare weight for movement of salt
• Close monitoring of Dedicated Freight Corridor Project Implementation of Eastern and Western DFCs; Target of nearly 1000kms of civil construction contracts
• Passenger Amenities through private entity by extending service of battery-operated carts to facilitate differently-abled and senior citizens to reach any platform comfortably at all major stations
• The Online booking facility will also cater to certain requirements like booking of a Train, a Coach, a Berth and a Seat in Chair Car
• Pre-cooked (Ready-to-eat) meals from reputed brands will be available in a phased manner
• For improvement in catering services Quality Assurance Mechanism through Third Party Audit by NABCB certified agencies will be initiated
• IVRS mechanism will be used as a system to collect feedback from travelling passengers on quality of food being served
• Food Courts at major stations to provide the option of ordering regional cuisine while onboard, through emails, SMS and Smart Phones, etc. A pilot project will be started shortly between New Delhi-Amritsar and New Delhi-Jammu Tawi sections
• CCTVs at Stations will be extended to monitor cleanliness activities
• Bio-toilets will be increased in sufficient numbers in trains in order to mitigate the problem of direct discharge of human waste on the tracks and platform aprons at stations
• RO drinking water units at Stations and in trains
• Modern Vehicle Borne Ultrasonic Flaw Detection System to detect rail and weld fractures
Office on Wheels: Workstations in select trains on payment basis of which a pilot project will be launched by this year
e-Booking of Railway Retiring Room: Online booking facility of Railway Retiring Room will be extended to all the stations during the course of the year
• GIS mapping and Digitisation of Railway land

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