Published : Monday, 2 March, 2015 11:25 AM
MBA aspirants must be updated with General Awareness on current topics. General awareness topics with analytically drawn conclusions will benefit you in XAT, IIFT, CMAT, MAT, Essay writing, General Awareness sections besides in GD & PI.
Today, you will read Current Affair Topic:
Railway Budget 2015-16, A Complete Analysis
Prior to the announcement of Railway Budget 2015-16, many news channels revealed that this year’s budget may be the last railway budget as government may club the railway budget with the general budget form the next financial year. In this regard, the budget 2015-16 can be considered as a historic one. In 1924, on the recommendations of Acworth Committee, Railway Budget was separated from General Budget as it accounted for around 70% of the general budget. Economy has changed a lot since then and now railway budget accounts for around 15% of the total budget. Since railway budget is no more an over-significant part of general budget, form next year, government may club both railway and general budget together.
The Railway Minister (RM) in his budgetary speech announced his resolve to make the railways once again the prime mover of economy. For that matter, the four goals of the railways which it would try to achieve in next four years will be –
- To deliver a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience.
- To make Rail a safer means of travel
- Expand capacity and modernise infrastructure. The railways would try to increase daily passenger carrying capacity from 21million to 30 million, increase track length by 20% from current 1,14,000 km to 1,38,000 km, grow annual freight carrying capacity by 50 % from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tonnes.
- Make railways self sustainable thus making large surpluses for capacity expansion.In order to achieve the aforesaid objectives, the details of the investment required would be as under –
|Proposed Investment Plan (2015-19)
||Amount (Rs in Crore)
|Network Decongestion (Dedicated Freight Corridors, Electrification, Doubling including electrification and traffic facilities
|Network Expansion (Electrification)
|National Projects (North-eastern and Kashmir Connectivity Projects)
|Safety (track renewals, bridge works ROB, RUB, Signalling and Telecom)
|Information Technology / Research
|Rolling Stock (Locomotives, coaches, wagons – production and maintenance)
|High Speed Rail and Elevated Corridor
|Station Redevelopment and Logistic Parks
Source: Ministry of Railways
Funds required for the proposed investment in the next five years are to the tune of Rs 8.5 Crores which is not an easy task. In order to get the required money and technology,Railways would partner with key stakeholders including private sector, states, PSU’s, bilateral organizations and other governments to gain access to long term financing and technology
In order to improve the customer satisfaction and quality of life in the railways, following measures have been announced –
- A new department for cleanliness within railways has been formed.
- Online booking of disposable bed rolls
- 24X7 helpline number 138; toll free number 182 for security related complaints
- For ticketing, new facilities include: concessional e-tickets for differently-abled travellers, developing a multi-lingual e-portal, crediting of refunds through banks, unreserved tickets on Smart phones, proliferation of automatic ticket vending machines with smart cards and currency options, integrated ticketing system on the lines of rail-cum road tickets.
- E-catering to select meals from an array of choices., ordering food through IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets; integrating best food chains into this project.
- Introduction of a centrally managed Railway Display Network in over 2000 stations in next two years
- “SMS Alert” service to inform passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations.
- Surveillance cameras provided on a pilot basis in selected mainline coaches and ladies’ compartments of suburban coaches without intruding into privacy.
- Introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains on license fee basis launched
- Mobile phone charging facilities to be provided in general class coaches
- Increased in number of sleeper and general class coaches
- Wi Fi to be provided at B category stations
- Capacity in identified trains to be augmented to run with 26 coaches.
- Increasing quota of lower berths for senior citizens.
Projects to be under taken for capacity augmentation in the fiscal year 2015-16 are –
- Commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore,
- 800 Km of gauge conversion
- In the North East States, Meghalaya brought on the Railway map of India and direct connectivity to Delhi provided.
- 55 km section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor to be completed.
- Transport Logistics Corporation of India (TRANSLOC), to set up for developing logistic solutions.
- A state of the art Perishable Cargo Centre under completion at the AzadpurMandi with a scientific banana -ripening Centre.
- Speed of nine railway corridors to be increased from existing 110 and 130 kph to 160 and 200 kph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi -Mumbai can be completed overnight.
- Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kph for empty freight trains and 75 kph for loaded trains.
- Feasibility study for High Speed Rail between Mumbai-Ahmadabad is in advance stage and report expected by the mid of year 2015.
- Creation of job opportunities by upgrading the manufacturing capability.
A safety has always been a major concern for Indian Railways. Some important measures announced for improving safety are as under –
- RDSO to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Indian Space Research Organization, using geo-spatial technology for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings.
- Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System to be installed on select routes at the earliest.
Environment and Sustainability
This year’s budget also announced to minimise the impact on environment while promoting the use of sustainable energy in railways –
- Environment Directorate to be constituted in Railway Board to give increased focus and thrust on environment management.
- Detailed energy audit for energy saving
- Solar Power as part of the Solar Mission of Railways. 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and Railway building.
- Expansion of water harvesting systems
- 100 DEMUs to be enabled for dual fuel–CNG and diesel. Locomotives running on LNG are under-development.
- Noise levels of locos to beat par with international norms
Estimates for year 2015-16
- Passenger earnings growth pegged at 16.7% and target budgeted at Rs. 50,175 crore.
- Freight traffic is pegged at an all time high incremental traffic of 85 million tonnes.
- Gross Traffic Receipts estimated at Rs 1,83,578crore , a growth of 15.3%.
Another important feature of this year’s budget which has not been seen for decades is the absence of announcement for any new trains. Fare was also not increased was announced in the wake of falling diesel prices. Though budget got its share of criticism from various quarters and opposition parties because this year’s budget is not of a populist nature. Many routes are already choked with over congestion. So, instead of announcing new trains, this year’s budget laid stress on capacity augmentation, safety, technology upgradation and enhanced customer satisfaction.
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