Budget 2021

Rail Budget 2015: Between gravy train and gravitas, Suresh Prabhu does a tight rope

BL Internet Desk | Updated on July 23, 2019

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu surrounded by media outside Parliament. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

The separate rail budget - a practice that dates back to the country's British colonial past - could show how far the Modi Government is prepared to drive investment in a vital transport sector.

Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu

No increase in passenger fares, no new trains. Freight charges hiked for some commodities.

No increase in passenger fares, no new trains. Freight charges hiked for some commodities. Summary
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday presented a Budget which charts out a clear five-year action plan to transform Indian Railways and considerably improve its services, besides making it financially sustainable. Prabhu did not alter the existing passenger fare even as adjustments were made to certain freight rates, with a promise that railway infrastructure will be modernised so as to increase the number of passengers carried from 21 million to 30 million daily as well as increase the goods movement from 1 billion tonne to 1.5 billion tonne annually. While refraining from announcing any new lines or trains in the Budget, he said that it will be done soon, in fact, during the current session itself.
For full text of Indian Railway Budget Speech 2015-16, click hyperlink - here
Railway Budget 2015 as it was presented in Parliament on February 26, 2015 (Latest first):
"Take up one idea, make that idea of life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea". Quoting Swami Vivekananda's words, Suresh Prabhu concluded his Railway Budget 2015 speech.
FinMinIndia to provide Budgetary Support of Rs 40,000 crore for the Railway’s Annual Plan

Financing cell to be created in Railway board to source finances from market
On new trains, Suresh Prabhu said review is being done and new trains will be announced in this Parliament session.
Offering some coaches to travel agents
Celebrating the centenary of Gandhiji's return to india - IRCTC to promote this. Kisna yatra - special travel scheme for farmers
Incredible Rail for Incredible India
Skill development and self employment to be encouraged on Konkan Rly model

A mechanism for making regulations, setting performance standards and tariffs to be setup
Investment in Indian Rlys is an investment in our future, sustainability and posterity
Solar power plant in Khatra station
Will harness solar energy and for water conservation, water recycling plants to be set up
Rail stocks down
Rail stocks plunged after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu started presenting his maiden budget. Texmaco shares plunged 6.25% at Rs 130.50, Titagarh Wagons shed 3.31% at Rs 560, Kalindee Rail Nirman 6.11% at Rs 132.20, BEML down 0.12% at Rs 979 and Concor down 1.18% at Rs 1,555.

Repair of staff quarters
Environment directive for environment protection
1000 MW solar plants to be set-up by developers on railway/Pvt. Land and on Rly Building at own cost
Full fledged university during 2015-16
Rs 2,000 crore for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs 2,500 crore through BOT/annuity route. Announces 1000 MW solar plant; 100DEMUs to be converted to dual fuel
Monetisation of assets rather than selling them
Financing Cell to be set up to increase revenue
Encraochment of railway land is a serious issue.
Plan size increased by 52%; 41.6% GBS; 17.8% internal generation
Process & procedures simplified to prevent delays; internal audit of Rly systems
Most important thrust area - resource mobilization
New vehicles to crowd in- setting up infrastructure fund
JV with major public sector companies for meeting requirements of new lines
Framework to facilitate private investment has been readied; MUTP-III, JV with states,PSUs.
Decentralise, deregulate and delegate to make freight business simpler
Tech upgradation - set up innovation council - for biz re-engineering
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announces Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Mumbai overnight journey trains
Unveil IT vision on live information on running trains
All India 24-7 helpline number will become operational
Customer friendly freight- tracking parcel et al
Mechanised track maintenance
Routine examination of tracks
PPP model - to improve
Modern construction initiative - guideline has been issued.
Railways to engage private agencies in cleanliness drive. Waste-to-energy conversion plants to be set up.
Preventive to predictive maintenance
‘Kayakalp’ to help in Technology Upgradation
Malaviya Chair at IIT/BHU for Railway technology
Web based application for ROB
Rs 6,581 cr has been sanctioned for ROBS and other elevated safety
train protection warning system on selected routes
modern track to be installed for avoiding derailments
Safety is of paramount importance. Loss of human life is too heavy a price to pay
Corporate safety plans; ISRO to be involved; 3438 level Xings to be eliminated, Rly expense increased by 2600 %
Feasibility study for high speed rail between Mumbai and Ahmadabad is in advanced stage and is expected by mid-year.
Speedier Railway- 9 hi-speed corridors, high speed trains, Make in India opportunities
Uproar as Suresh Prabhu asks MPs to donate from MPLAD funds for improving passenger amenities

Private freight terminals reviewing of WLS, SFTO, PFT schemes under process; automatic freight rebate system launched and to be expanded
State of the art perishable cargo center under completion for farmers at Azadpur Mandi
By 2019, the proposed investment in Railways would be in tune of Rs 8,56,021 crore
TRANSLOC – new PSU – end to end logistics solution
Meghalaya brought under map in Indian Railways
Connectivity with Jammu and rest of the country.
Railway electrification - 6,608 route km has been sanctioned. 1330% over the previous year
Debottlenecking – traffic facility works - 100% more funds allocated
Fast track highest priority works. Investment 84% higher; 77 new projects -Doubling, tripling/quadrupling/ electrification
Lifts and escalators at major stations
Newly manufactured coaches brail-enabled for blind
120 days: time for booking tickets
Open bids to be invited for redevelopment of stations
Monitering cell will be formed to check adherence of timeline
Satellite railway terminals in major cities - 10 select stations
We want our railway stations to be iconic structures reflecting the culture of that place
WiFi services will be made available at 400 railway stations
Station to be redeveloped through simpler processes - faster redevelopment. Monitoring cell constituted
67% more funds allotted for passenger amenities
Rs 120 crore provided for lifts and escalators to facilitate movements
Train sets, saving 20% journey time within next 2 years
Facility of self operated lockers at stations and mobile phone charging facilities in general class coaches
24 to 26 coaches in certain identified trains, more general class coaches, ladders to be replaced
Centrally managed Rail Display Network is expected to be introduced in over 2k stations over next 2 years
Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments
SMS alert on mobile, customer portal promoting Digital India campaign
Elderly-friendly measures
Increased quota for lower berths for elderly
TTEs to be instructed to help the elderly
Middle bay of coaches to be reserved for the elderly
Concierge services at select stations
Lifts and escalators at major stations
NID has been asked to design user-friendly ladders for climbing upper berths to help senior citizens
Train arrival and departure will be messaged, women and senior citizens can get middle berth with ease.
Veg kitchens to be introduced
Availability of clean water for passengers
SMS on mobile valid proof for travelling
SMS service to inform about arrival; and departure of train
Bed linen to be designed by NIFT
Disposable bed rolls to be available on IRCTC for all passengers
24x7 helpline: 138 for customer complaints
Mobile app to be developed
Nirbhaya funds to be utilised for security of women
Operation5Minutes to ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within 5 minutes.
Modern facilities for disabled citizens, senior citizens, patients through IRCTC
e-catering introduced in 108 trains last month

Cleanliness major factor of dissatisfaction.
Working on Swachch Rail Swachch Bharat separate dept for cleanliness.
Toilets need improvements, bio toilets in coaches
7,388 bio toilets
17,000 thousand toilets to be installed in 6 months: vaccum toilets to be made available
No increase in passenger fares
Operating ratio proposed at 88.5%. Best ever in 9 years
4 Goals for transformation of Indian Railways
1. Customer experience to receive a huge boost
2. Safer Travel
3. Modernize infrastructure
4. Indian Railways- Financially self-sustainable
12.20 pm:
One of primary objectives is to increasing financial health of India
In the next five years, our priority will be to significantly improve capacity in high-density networks.
We target improvement in service to customers
Improvement of connectivity a imperative
Expand railways capacity substantially: 21 mn to 30 mn
Make railways self sufficience
Tighter control over cost required, boost to railways revenue generating capacity
12.15 pm:
Reincarnation of Railways can happen.
Vicious cycle of under investment in railways must end.
Rail transport must be made safe and reliable and must establish a benchmark
Railways will play major role In development o the country
12.14 pm:
492 section of IR -running at a capacity of more than 100%; 228 running between 80-100%.
12.11 pm:
Railways is a unique integrator of India. Railways is a network of veins pumping blood in the economy of India. Chronic underinvestment has led to poor development of the Indian Railways.
12.10 pm:
Suresh Prabhu starts his Rail Budget 2015 speech in Parliament.
12.05 pm:
Suresh Prabhu presents copy of 'White Paper' on Railways in Parliament.
12 pm:
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu set to present the Rail Budget 2015.
11.55 am:
Markets now: Indian shares were trading marginally in the red. At 11.55 am., the 30-share BSE index Sensex was trading lower by 64.79 points or 0.22 per cent at 28,943.20 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty was trading down by 20.65 points or 0.24 per cent at 8,746.60.
At 11.36 am, Texmaco was down 1.47% at Rs 137.15, Titagarh Wagons was up 2.12% at Rs 591.50, Kalindee Rail Nirman down 1.28% at Rs 139, BEML up 1.58% at Rs 995.70 and Concor up 0.92% at Rs 1,588.
11.39 am:
Suresh Prabhu reaches Parliament to present his maiden Rail Budget
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and MOS Railway Manoj Sinha on their way from Rail Bhawan to present Railway Budget 2015-16 at Parliament House today, February 26, 2015. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

11.37 am:
The Railway Minister had said "95% of the passengers are common people; we have to take care of their interests, priorities and grievances". "We have to make Railways Ministry a globally benchmark organisation in safety, security & infrastructure," he said on priorities of the Railway Budget 2015. "We will keep in mind long term interest of railways and interests of common man and try to balance both."
11.32 am:
Wooing investors
With internal resources drying up, Suresh Prabhu is likely to announce new measures to draw investment from private domestic firms and foreign investors. The rate of return detracts domestic investors from putting money into the Railways. Ideally, it should be 16-17%, but with a greater focus on social projects, the return is normally below 10 per cent. Now, Prabhu could offer viability gap funding or share in the risk to attract private investment. The Budget could also see a focus on foreign direct investment, which would dovetail with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ mission. The Centre has allowed 100 per cent FDI in some segments of the Railways.
11.25 am:

11.20 am:
Naidu has said sorry. "I respect everyone in Parliament and mean no disrespect to them with any statement," he said.
11.15 am:
Opposition threatens to disrupt Prabhu's speech. TV reports say that opposition parties met this morning and decided to disrupt proceedings demanding an apology from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkiah Naidu. Naidu had reportedly used some words during a debate yesterday which opposition parties have taken offence to. All the parties are coming together for the protest.
11.10 am:
Suresh Prabhu has left his residence for Rail Bhawan
11.00 am:
Of the 676 railway projects worth Rs 1,57,883 crore sanctioned so far, only 317 could be completed and the remaining 359 will now need as much as Rs 1,82,000 crore.
10.50 am:
Ahead of the presentation of the Railway Budget, South Central Railway officials revealed that a whopping Rs 14,583 crore is required for 26 ongoing projects under SCR’s jurisdiction that spans Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

10.45 am:
Getting the railways back on track.
Eight suggestions to reform the current rail structure in tune with the needs of the 21st century
1. Decentralisation of power
2. Empowering zonal railways
3. Development under PPP
4. Monetisation of property
5. Independent zonal budget
6. Fixing of travel fare
7. Co-ordination between two zones and profitability
8. Performance review (Read full article here)
10.35 am:
The Railway Budget will signal the direction of long-term reforms needed to revamp the world's fourth-largest rail network, Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, has said. "The budget will set the direction of long and difficult road of reform," Suresh Prabhu told DD News ahead of his budget presentation. The country's decrepit state-run train services stand to receive at least a 25 per cent boost in investment to over $9 billion.
10.30 am:
Railway stocks in focus: On the BSE, Texmaco Rail was down 2.3% or Rs 3.20 at Rs 136. Titagarh Wagons ws up 1.33% or Rs 7.70 at Rs 586.90. Kalindee Rail Nirman was down 2.27% or Rs 3.20 at Rs 137.60. BEML was up 1.76% or Rs 17.30 at Rs 997.50 while Kernex Microsystems was down 1.5 per cent or Rs 0.70 at Rs 45.85. Container Corporation of India was up 1.87 per cent or Rs 29.40 at Rs 1,603.
10.25 am:
The Railway Budget is likely to focus on green initiatives. Apart from using solar energy to illuminate coaches, station buildings and platforms, there are plans for solar energy generation plants in production units and workshops. There is likely to be a separate chapter in the Rail Budget listing a series of environment initiatives including proposal to tap wind energy by setting up windmills along the tracks.
10.15 am:
Railway Budget papers arrive at Parliament House. Photo: Kamal Narang

10.05 am:
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha had said last week there were no plans to reduce train fares. "It (fare reduction) will not be done. Fares are already low and the government is giving subsidy," he said.

9.50 am:
New trains: With the Railways reeling under a financial crunch, the number of new trains to be announced in the Rail Budget is unlikely to be more than 100, much less than what is the normal practice every year. It has been a popular practice of the Railways to announce the launch of 150 to 180 new trains in its budget every year. About 160 trains were announced last year.
9.45 am:
Markets slip into red. Stocks erased their opening session gains and were trading marginally in the red as traders remained cautious ahead of F&O expiry and Rail Budget announcement later today. The 30-share BSE index Sensex was trading lower by 97.74 points or 0.34 per cent at 28,910 and the 50-share NSE index fell 25.7 points or 0.29 per cent to 8,741.55.
9.38 am:
Railway stocks were trading mixed ahead of the budget to be presented in a few hours. On the BSE, Texmaco was down 3.05% or Rs 4.25 at Rs 134.95. Titagarh Wagons ws up 1.48% or Rs 8.60 at Rs 587.80. Kalindee Rail Nirman was down 4.05% or Rs 5.70 at Rs 135.10. BEML was up 0.08% at Rs 981 while Kernex Microsystems was down 2.26 per cent or Rs 1.05 at Rs 45.50.
9.30 am:
It is widely expected that the government will go on an investment splurge to boost investment in infrastructure in the sector thanks to cheap oil.
Markets today
The 30-share BSE index Sensex jumped 63.46 points or 0.22 per cent to 29,071.45 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty rose 11.75 points or 0.13 per cent to 8,779 in first few minutes of trading.
9.22 am:
Citi upgrades Bharat Forge: Citi has upgraded the Bharat Forge share to "buy" from "sell" and raised its target to Rs 1,526 from Rs 898. It adds the company's new plant to supply critical engine components to the Railways could also boost earnings.
9.10 am: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is unlikely to go in for any populism in the Railway Budget. Rather, he may present a detailed fundraising roadmap as he sets out to present his first budget, on Thursday.
Despite the drop in fuel prices, he may not opt for a cut in passenger fares or freight tariffs, as his Ministry needs resources to fund ongoing projects.
If he does not cut rates, the Railways should get ₹10,000-₹15,000 crore in savings, accounting for cheaper fuel. In the October-February period, diesel prices fell 21 per cent. Read more
Published on February 26, 2015

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