New Delhi, Feb 25: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday presented the rail budget for next fiscal keeping in mind passenger amenities while leaving the decion on fare and freight hikes to a later date.
In his second consecutive rail budget the Railway Minister also stressed over developing the tourism sector and partnering with state governments for operation of its ambitious tourist circuit train project.
While presenting the Railway Budget 2016-17 in Parliament today Suresh Prabhu said that Tourism holds great potential for economic development and job creation.
"Indian Raileays will be partnering with the State Governments for operating tourist circuit trains and explore the possibility of a revenue sharing model. Indian Railways have recently upgraded our National Rail Museum. Promotion of tourism through Railway museums and UNESCO world heritage Railways will be our special focus," he said.
The Railway Minister also added that India's rich bio diversity and wildlife is one of the mainstays of Incredible India campaign.
Last year, Indian Railways initiated a project to target reduction in elephant collisions, especially in North Eastern states.
This year, to spread awareness about our National Animal, the Tiger, Indian Railways will offer complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh.
As per official data, India has the fourth largest railroad network in the world with some 64,460 route km, after the US (224,792), Russia (128,000) and China (112,00). Nearly 21,000 trains ply daily to ferry 23 million passengers and 3 million of freight.
The network spans 29 states and three union territories via some 8,500 stations. It criss-crosses Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu in the south and Ledo in Assam in the east to Naliya in Gujarat in the west.