First time in the UPA regime a Congress Minister presented the Railway Budget, which was politically correct. While a direct hike of an average 5-6 per cent on frieght rates was announced, Pawan Kumar Bansal touched passenger fares indirectly by effecting marginal increases in charges like -- superfast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal.
The Minister, while preparing the ground for passing on any fuel price increase to the users, said that subsequent increase in rates of diesel in January has added Rs 3,300 crore to the fuel bill of railways, taking a substantial portion of the additional resources targeted.
Besides, electricity tariffs are also revised periodically, he said.
"The increase in fuel bill during 2013-14 on account of these revisions in 2012-13 alone would be more than Rs 5,100 crore. In the light of deregulation of diesel, Railways finances need to be rationally insulated and to this end a mechanism to neutralise the impact of fuel prices on operating expenses is required to be put in place," the Minister said.
In Budget 2012-13, it was propsoed to segregate fuel component in tariffs as fuel adjustment component (FAC). "I propose that his component be dynamic in nature and change in either direction with the change in fuel cost, say, twice a year," the Minister said.
Bansal has proposed to implement the fuel ajustment component-linked revision in only freight tariff from April 1, 2013, "As regards passenger fares, since these were revised only in January this year, I do not intend to pass on the additional burden now and the railways will absorb the impact of Rs 850 crore on this account," he said.
Besides, talking about Railway finances, he also spoke about green initiatives, job opportunities by creating rail-based industries, ppp projects, catering, rail tourism.
67 new express trains to be introduced; 27 passenger trains and 5 EMUs.
An independent Rail Tariff Authority has been formalised.
Railway revenues to show a balance of Rs 12,506 crore in 2013-14.
Planned investment of Rs 63,363 crore for 2013-14, including Rs 600 crore from PPP route.
Plans for 22 new lines.
Electrification of 1,200 km of tracks this year.
Estimate for 2012-13: Freight target at 1,047 mt, which is 40 mt more than current year. Revenue target set at Rs 93,554 crore for frieght.
5.2 per cent growth in passengers targeted; earning target at Rs 42,010 crore.
Rs 3,000 crore loan from Finance Ministry repaid with interest by Railways this financial year.
IRFC to borrow Rs 15,103 crore next year
Passenger revenue revised estimates at Rs 32,400 crore, lower by Rs 3,573 crore from Budget estimate. Operating ratio expected to improve to 87.8 per cent in 2013-14 from 88.8 per cent in the current fiscal.
Strict financial discipline measures: 347 projects have been identified as priority projects and to complete them in timebound manner; Judicious mix of funding is required.
Proposed to set up debt service fund for servicing of JICA and World Bank loans for dedicated frieght corridor.
Mountain rails in India will be revamped on the lines of what has been done in Austria and the Swiss Alps. No specific deadlines, though.
Freedom fighters' passes renewal only after 3 years against every year now.
Arunachal Pradesh will also be brought into the rail network for the first time.
New coach manufacturing and maintenance facilities to be set up in various places including Rae Bareli, Bhilwara, Sonepat, Kalahandi, Kolar, Palakkad and Pratapgarh
Financing: Setting up of Indian Railway Institute of Financial Management at Secunderabad.
Set up a Chair at TERI for railway related research.
Multi disciplinary training institute at Nagpur.
Staff requirement: To fill up 1.5 lakh vacancies. Construction of staff quarters in PPP mode. Provision of quarters for single women.
Railway production units: Special drive for scrap disposal. Rs 4,500-cr target for 2013-14.
Railways set to enter 1 billion tonne freight club of China, Russia and US.
Green energy initiatives: Setting up of Railway energy management company. 75 MW windmill plants. Ban use of plastics in catering. 1,100 level crossing to be powered by solar/wind energy.
Set to attract Rs 1 lakh crore investment through Public Private Partnerhsip route in 12th Plan.
Rs 1 lakh crore each for Railway Land Development Authority and Indian Railway Station Development Corporation.
Revamped policy partnership with ports, mines etc. A model that will be a win-win for both.
Common rail-bus ticket to be introduced for Katra-Vaishnodevi pilgrims
60 more 'adarsh' stations will be rolled out.
Need-based rail connectivity to East
Freight loading to be 38 million tonne more than 2011-12 at 1,007 million tonne.
Azadi Express connecting places associated with freedom movement.
Executive lounges in four more stations including Patna, Nagpur, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam.
IRCTC Web site: Internet booking to be strengthened with next-gen e-ticketing system to eliminate delays.
Identification of 104 stations for upgradation in places with more than one million population and of religious significance.
Real time information will facilitate: 7,200 tickets per minute as opposed to 2,000 this system will facilitate and will support 1 lakh 20,000 users as opposed to 20,000 users today. Internet booking hours will be increased from 12.30 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. E-Booking will also be expanded to allow bookings through mobile phones.
Use of Aadhaar by Railways: Real time information to passengers: Internet booking and e-ticketing. SMS alerts to passengers. Railways will use Aadhaar database for bookings and validation of passengers.
Special A/C coaches Anubhuti with latest modern services to be introduced in select Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains with commensurate fare.
Mechanised laundry and electronic display on board on trains.
Putting up of six additional Rail Neer bottling plants, including at Vijayawada, Nagpur.
Extensions of bio-toilets on train.
Spells out safety measures to avoid accidents at level crossing. To prepare corporate safety plan for 10 year period. Elimination of 10,700 unmanned level crossings targeted during the Plan; no more new such crossings to be created.
Resource constraint cannot be an excuse for sub-standard services.
Losses to Railways on account of passenger traffic likely to mount to Rs 24,600 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 22,500 crore in 2011-12.
Rs 1 lakh crore will be raised from public-private partnership, Rs 1.05 lakh crore through internal resources in the 12th Plan.
12th Plan railway size will be Rs 5.19 lakh crore, with gross budgetary support of Rs 1.94 lakh crore. Internal resources target for the 12th Plan seems to be a tall order. Raising Rs 95,000 crore in the next four years requires a paradigm shift in revenue generation.
In the 11th Plan, Railways fell short of target for doubling and gauge conversion. But met target for new lines and electricfication.