Railway Budget is all encompassing; Railway raises expectation bar

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New Delhi, July 8: It has not been easy for the newly-formed government as it approaches its 100-day threshold. Surely, it is encountering numerous problems that were till now brushed under the carpet by its predecessors, creating an illusion of a people's government. We knew that the railways was running at a loss, but who knew that it was running a debt too and a loss of Rs 26,000 crores.

Indeed, the government planned the rail fare hike with certain things in mind and we do not mind either unless it stops working on the claims that it may make at the Railway budget today. What to expect from the government is a tedious question in itself since it has promised a lot, but with a hefty debt to worry about, will it be able to meet upto our expectations?

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Railway budget timeline

Rail budget comes to an end; House adjourned till 2:10 pm 

1:15 pm: 27 express trains to be introduced, 5 new jan sadharan trains to be introduced5 Jansadharan, 5 Premium & 6 AC, 27 Express Trains, 8 Passenger, 5 DEMU & 2 MEMU services; 11 train extensions.

18 new line surveys, 10 surveys for doubling 3rd & 4th lines and gauge conversion.

1:10 pm:Experimental stoppages to continue till September 2014. It will be reviewed.

10 surveys for new lines to be conducted.

New trains: Special trains for Melmaruvathur, Velankanni.

Bangalore to get suburban rails

29 rail projects in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with Rs. 20,680 crores will be completed

1:05 pm: Solar energy to be harnessed through PPP by utilizing rooftop spaces of stations and railway buildings; 23 projects underway in north-east. Rs. 5,100 crore for northeast projects.

On Staff Welfare: Hospital Management Information System to integrate all railway health units and hospital.

1:00 pm: To allot Rs 1,780 Crore to eliminate unmanned level crossings. Will provide summer internships to undergraduate students from engineering background

12:55 pm: Summer internship programs with the Railways proposed for engineering and MBA students.WiFi in A1 and A category stations and in select trains. Goa-Mumbai, Chennai-Hyderabad and Nagpur-Secunderabad, Mumbai-Ahmedabad: High Speed Rails

Special milk tanker trains to be introduced. Temperature controlled storage for fruits and vegetables.

CCTVs to be used at stations for monitoring cleanliness at railway stations; third party inspections to be introduced

12:50 pm: Bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad; Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Kanpur, Bilaspur etc to get speed trains; current trains to be enhanced for speed. Efforts will be made to increase speed of trains to 160-200, on select sectors.

 Diamond Quadrilateral network to connect major metros through High Speed Rails. Children of railway staff to be provided education. 

Railway university for technical and non-technical subjects; short-duration courses to be in place. Ultra-sonic rail breakage detection system to be launched as a pilot project.

Women RPF constables to oversee women-only coaches to make travel for women safer

Education tourism and pilgrimage tourism in the foray. Railway ticketing through post offices to support 7,200 tickets per minute. Experiments for automated ticket vending machines. 

CCTVs at stations will be used to monitor cleaning activities. Security helpline to call for help when needed.

Over 40,000 cr needed for track renewals and other infrastructure. Rs 1785 CR for road under bridges and over bridges dedicated.

Onboard housekeeping staff, introduction of RO drinking waters on trains. 

12:45 pm: Growth in passenger traffic anticipated; sought more revenues from the Centre. Revenues important as pension, requirements increase.We need immediate course correction like fare revision.

Fare revision will get Rs 8,000 crores. Public-private partnership necessary to improve condition of Railways. FinMin has granted additional capital of Rs. 1100 core and Rs. 273 crore as Railway share. Gross traffic receipts in 2013-14 was Rs 12,35,558 crore,operating ratio was 94%.

Passenger amenities focus of the budget; includes the handicapped, work station on select trains on payment basis for corporates; expansion of online booking capacities; hygiene and quality of food by providing read-to-cook brands; quality audit to be done. Set up food courts at major station. Pilot projects between New Delhi Amritsar.

12:40 pm: Need Rs 50,000 cr every year for the next ten years for Railways. Ministry of Railways is seeking cabinet approval for FDI in Railways, except Railway operations. Railways is operating at a ratio of 94 per cent.

Mr. Gowda proposes Rs. 11, 790 crore market borrowing.Of the projects sanctioned in the last ten years, only one has been completed; Doubing, tripling is Railways' first priority. Construction of new lines is the second; Cabinet approval sought for FDI in Railways; Surplus revenues declining. Hardly any resources for development works. Rs.5 Lakh Cr required for ongoing projects alone.

12:35 pm: Rail PSU, pvt investment, PPP alternative sources of revenue; transparency and indigenisation of imported products are implementation to look forward too. 

12:30 pm: Our target is to become the largest freight carrier in the world-Sadananda Gowda. Need to balance social and commercial obligations. There are 4 projects that are over 30 years old but have still not been completed. Managing the Railways takes most of our resources. We spend 94% of our earnings, are left with just 6%, resulting in severe crunch of funds.

12:25 pm: Reforms should have been put in place earlier; revenues effected due to reduction in freight carriage

12:20 pm:

12:15 pm: 1 billion tonnes of freight carried, the largest in the world; railways carries, salt, coal, milk, coal etc; carries 23 million passengers a day; connect ports, defence, food etc. Indian rail carry only 31% of all the freight, despite increase in freight carriage. 

12:15 pm: Gowda said that Railway is the backbone of the Indian economy;railways cut across creed, class and religion. Flooded with schemes and new facilities.

12:10 pm: The new government has increased railway passenger fares by 14.2% and freight carriage charges by 6.5%. Stocks of companies related to rail sector fell by 8 per cent in morning trade due to profit-booking ahead of Railway Budget.

12:05 pm: Rail budget begins

12:00 :  Home MInister Rajnath Singh speaks on strengthening the Border Security Force 

11:50 am: Mega Food Park proposed to reduce wastage of fruits and vegetables , as raised by Jyotiraditya Scindhia.

11:40 am: Arjun Ram Meghwal speaks of NREGA scheme. Food Processing minister Harsimrat Kaur answers, talks about the process of sanctioning projects.

11:35 am: West Bengal, Maharashtra express concern over pension of technicians and artists

11:30 am: Special telephone lines by the Railway MInister for listening to live Rail Budget updates

11:25 am: D.V. Sadananda Gowda arrives at the parliament along with his junior minister Manoj Sinha.

11:25 am: Revival of fertilizer projects and companies that have been shut

11:20 am: The minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Ananth Kumar, further said that farmers have to be trained and educated on the requirement of the soil and act accordingly.

11:15 am: No hike in urea and fertilizers prices, said fertilizer minister. He further added, there is no dearth of urea. 

11:10 am: In question hour Agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh speaks of the various measures that the government is taking to curb the problems caused due to delay in monsoon. The minister said that the farmers had not been left at the mercy of God previously and they would not be left to fend for themselves even now. Kisan Beema Insurance is in place and amendments have been made. Its up to the chief ministers to decide. The ministry has given them a free hand. 

11:05 am: Railway budget begins

10:50 am: 

10:20 am: Sadananda Gowda head for Railway Bhavan, refusing to say a word

9:55 am: BJP meeting ahead of railway budget  underway

9:50 am: As top politicians pile in for the meeting, there are inputs coming in from various quarters demanding a healthy Railway Budget.

9:45 am: Vinod Khanna,Paresh Rawal and Dr.Harshvardhan arrive for BJP's parliamentary party meet. 

9:30 am:

9:15 am:

9:00 am:  

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