Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented the Rail budget speech which quite stood up to his promise of ‘innovative solutions’. The budget that he presented will have many new trains to cater the increasing demand for the railways. The main agenda that came out from his budget speech is to become an engine for creating havoc employment and maintain a good economic growth at national level.
- Prabhu announced new trains as well as additional coaches aiming specifically for unreserved traveling. The ministry will also introduce Antyodaya Express- a long distance, unreserved and superfast service for common people. The express will be operated on impenetrable routes.
- The ministry also will add 2-4 Dayalu coaches in some long distance trains for unreserved travel with having facilities including portable drinking water and additional mobile charging points. Humsafar Express has also been introduced to the common people. It is a fully air-conditioned third AC service with operational services for meals.
- Prabhu also introduced Tejas which will according to him, show the future of train traveling in the country while having speed of 130Km/hr and above and additional world-class services. He also introduced Utkrisht double-decker air-conditioned Yatri (Uday) Express with an increasing carrying capacity of around 40%.
- The Rail Minister has also given online ticketing system a new avatar as they have increased the capacity of online ticket booking from 2000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute. He also mentioned that the ministry is now supporting around 1.2 lakh users simultaneously compared to the earlier 40,000.
- Suresh Prabhu said that there no longer is a barrier between common passengers and the Indian Railways. Also, in a bid to connect the whole country, he has proposed to connect the North-Eastern states especially Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura via broad-gauge. also, nearly 2,800 km of new tracks will be commissioned this year.
- They have also finalised the bids for setting up 2 locomotive factories with an order book of Rs. 40,000 crore. Also, new freight corridors have been announced in Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada etc. LIC has also agreed to invest Rs. 1.5 lakh crore over the period of 5 years on extremely favourable terms. In 2016-17, the capital plan will be Rs. 1,21,000 crore.
- Lastly, there have been a slew of announcements for passengers like for senior citizens and women, the quota has been increased by 50% which will result in almost 120 lower berths per train; passengers can now demand clean coaches through SMS; Wi-Fi services will be provided to 100 stations by this year and the rest 400 by next year. Also, Chennai will get the country’s first Rail Auto Hub. Porters from now on will have new uniforms and will be referred to as ‘sahayaks’ and not coolies. He also said that baby food, hot milk and water will be provided at stations.