Budget 2019

Rail Budget 2016: Suresh Prabhu sets sight on freight

BL Internet Desk | Updated on July 23, 2019 Published on February 25, 2016
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu leaving Rail Bhawan to present the Rail Budget 2016-17 at Parliament House. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu leaving Rail Bhawan to present the Rail Budget 2016-17 at Parliament House. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

According to the Railway Ministry’s action taken report on 140 promises made in the previous Budget, about 40 have been redeemed, with the rest at various stages of implementation.

To restructure Railway Board; keeps fares unchanged, increases quota for women, senior citizens

To restructure Railway Board; keeps fares unchanged, increases quota for women, senior citizens Summary
The Indian Railways is reviewing the tariff structure for its freight business and wants to expand the basket of commodities it transports to boost revenues, the Railways Minister said on Thursday. Presenting the annual Rail Budget for 2016/17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the freight business - which provides two-thirds of Indian railways' revenues - was struggling as capacity constraints bite and industrial demand slows. "These are challenging times, maybe the toughest," he told Parliament, announcing plans for three new dedicated freight corridors across the country. "We need to look beyond the current approach to expand the basket (of commodities). We will make sure we recapture the traffic."
For full text of Indian Railway Budget Speech 2016-17, click hyperlink - here

Gangmen to be equipped with wireless devices that will alert them about oncoming trains
70% higher axel load wagons in 2019
100 terrabytes of data generated by railways annually to be put through analytics by a newly set up department
Fund to promote innovations in rail
Companies owned by Railways to come under a holding company
National Rail plan integrate multiple modes of transport

1 pm
Railway Board to be reorganised on commercial lines
Drones to be used for remote monitoring physical monitoring of ongoing projects
Indian Railways earns only 5% non-rail based revenue. Globally, it is 25-30 per cent. To change trend
Possibility of long-term tariff contracts for freight customers
Rail side logistics parks to be built on railway land to offer warehousing facilities for freight customers
India's first rail auto hub to be set up in Chennai, says the Railway Minister.

Kolkata: All issues related to East-West corridor resolved; Phase I to be done by June 2018
Mumbai to get 2 elavated railway corridors
Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram to get suburban railway system. In Bengaluru, to partner with State government.

33% sub-quota for women under all reserved categories
Measures taken for women safety, says Suresh Prabhu
GPS system inside coaches to indicate train position
FM radio stations for on board entertainment
Porters to get new uniforms and be provided soft skills training. Will also be given group insurance. To be known as "sahayak".

On board FM radio service.

12.45 pm
This government truly believes that fate of India wouldn't change unless life of common men & women improve, says Suresh Prabhu
Local cuisine for choice, 10 more mechanised kitchens, third party audit for catering
Children's menu on trains, baby food and hot water to be made available in stations
E-catering to be extended to more stations
Journalists to get facility of e-booking of tickets on concessional passes
Passenger can demand cleaning of coach/toilet thru SMS in select stations
Bar-coded tickets to be introduced
Cash vending machines to accept debit and credit cards
e-ticket facility for foriegn debit and credit card holders
Railways to generate 9 crore man-days in FY17-18 and 14 crore man-days in FY18-19
New trains
Overnight double-decker trains to be introduced on business travel routes
Fully unreserved superfast trains to be introduced on dense traffic routes

From 2,000 tickets per minute we are now issuing 7,000 tickets per minute

20% lower accidents in 2015-16. Ghaziabad-Delhi route audit to remove hurdles in maintaining time
Passenger-friendly measures
Braille enabled train wagons implemented for specially abled people
400 railway stations to be renovated under PPP model
Wi Fi facility at 100 stations to be increased to 400 stations in next two years.
1,780 automatic ticket vending machines for passengers implemented
2,500 water vending machines at railway stations have been provided
First bio vacuum toilets in Dibrugarh Rajdhani
Will increase lower berth quota for women, senior citizens
All stations to be brought under CCTV surveillance in a phased manner
Finalised bids for 2 loco factories under Make in India
Cabinet in historic decision allowed joint ventures with states
44 new projects valued Rs. 92,714 crores to be implemented this year
All land holding data digitised

12.30 pm
17,000 biotoilets will be provided before the end of this fiscal
Feedback system through IVR and social media implemented
JVs with state govts for rail-based projects. 6 MoUs signed
First time incorporated statement in 'Pink Book' of sanctioned works
We have revamped internal audit system
3 new freight corridors announced
12.20 pm
Social media to bring transparency, e-platform for procurement, two factories to build locomotives
All procurement moved to e-system
Railways likely to incur losses ₹30,000 cr
Railways will generate employment of 14 crore man-days in 2018-19
12.15 pm
Freight corridor proposed North-South- Delhi-Chennai
2 dedicated freight corridors being developed
Happy to announce action has been initiated on 139 Budget announcements last year.
For year 2016-17, we expect the operating ratio of 92%.
What is operating ratio? It is a financial ratio used for large industries to define operating expenses as a percentage of revenue.
We are facing two headwinds: tepid growth of our economy’s core sectors, increased productivity bonus payouts.
We hope to generate revenues of order of Rs.1,84,820 cr next year, 10.1% higher than revised target of current year.
2,000 km of lines to be electrified
A saving of Rs. 8,720 crore for Budget estimates of last year will be effected this year.
In 2016-17, the capital plan will be Rs. 1,21,000 crore.
Poised to commission broad gauge lines at the rate of 7 km per day against 4.5 km over last five years
Next year, we will commission 2,800 km of track
By 2020, time-tabled freight trains
Want to increase punctuality to 95% by 2020
By 2020- eliminiate all unmanned level crossings
By 2020- reserved accommodation will be made available on demand
We will strive for zero based budgeting approach
Will revisit all processes to raise efficiencies
Tariff hikes are not only way to raise revenue; we'll look at new sources of revenue, optimise assets
Expect operating ratio of 92% in 2016-17
Indian Railways is the engine of India's economic growth
Looking at ways to improve resources from new sources
We want to challenge conventional thinking of freight policy
This budget reflects aspirations of the people of India, says Suresh Prabhu. This budget will document the journey of transformation.
12.05 pm Suresh Prabhu begins Railway Budget speech
11.58 am
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu set to present the Rail Budget 2015.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has reached Rail Bhawan.
Markets @11.20 am
The Sensex was up 25.68 points or 0.11 per cent at 23,114.61 while the NSE Nifty was down 1.55 points at 7,017.15. Kalindee Rail was down 1.85 per cent, Texmaco Rail was down 1.41 per cent, Titagarh Wagons was up 0.36 per cent and Alstom T&D was down 0.20 per cent ahead of the Rail Budget presentation. Alstom T&D hit a 52-week low of Rs 362 in intra-day trading on the BSE. Railway stocks was witnessing spurt in trading volumes.

11:05 am:
Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu leaves from his residence for Rail Bhawan in Delhi.
Hope we'll be successful in addressing the needs and aspirations of people of country, says Suresh Prabhu
Rail Budget hs been prepared keeping in view aspirations, needs and concerns of people the of nation: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.
New rule for unreserved tickets
An unreserved train ticket for travelling up to 199 km distance will no longer be valid after three hours of purchase of the ticket as railways has formulated a new rule to be effective from March 1.
11 am
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu: "It'll be a good Budget and in benefit of the nation."
In November 2015 the Railways had doubled ticket cancellation charges and proposed changes in refund rules. While cancellation fee of second class confirmed ticket in 48 hours before the scheduled departure of the train was increased from ₹30 to ₹60, on a Third AC ticket it was increased from Rs 90 to Rs 180.
Daunting project

The ₹98,000-crore bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be a challenge to implement, say transportation experts. An estimate by rating agency SMERA pegs the cost at $28 million per kilometre (including rolling stock and construction), if 6,000 km of high-speed rail network were to be laid in the next 10 years and this includes the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor. Sankar Chakraborti, CEO, SMERA Ratings, says, "It will catapult India into next level of development, but challenges are formidable."

No escape:
A report by Morgan Stanley said that employee costs will strain internal generation of cash, especially with wages at 55 per cent of traffic receipts

Indian Railways' ₹76,242-crore problem
The country’s largest civilian employer wants to reduce its wage bill. But can the Railways convince its men? The IR is India’s second largest employer, after the Indian Army, with a total headcount of 13.34 lakh, and a wage bill of ₹76,242 crore in 2014. Of the total headcount, 17,100 are officers, including 2,597 doctors. Read more

10.30 am:
Green initiative
The Budget Wing of the Railway Ministry has saved 12 lakh sheets of A-4 size paper and printing of 26 lakh pages. This is a significant contribution to the conservation of environmental resources besides financial savings by resorting to an alternative methodology for communicating budget information on Pink Book and Demands for Grants, on a need-based selective method, thereby, reducing unwanted paper communication to various field units of the Railways.
Rail stocks @ about 10.15 am:
Stocks of railway related companies like Titagarh Wagons, Timken India, Texmaco Rail and Engineering, BEML, Kalindee Rail, Alstom T&D India, Hind Rectifiers and Stone India are trading mixed today after a rally seen yesterday in run up to the Railway Budget. Expectations are higher from Railway Budget than the Union Budget as the government has laid thrust on improving railway infrastructure for sprucing up economic growth.

Every Indian railway station should be made fully accessible for physically-challenged people by incorporating measures as per universal accessibility standards, a NGO run by an Indian-American said ahead of the annual railway budget. Ramps with proper gradient and holding bars on both sides should be added, allowing wheel chairs to enter and move around in the station along with electric carts as per universal accessibility standards, Voice of Specially Abled People (VoSAP) said in a memorandum submitted to the Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Train hostesses to welcome travellers
Imagine being ushered into a train by a hostess who presents you a rose bud as soft music plays in the background. It will soon be a reality, with the Railways deciding to introduce train hostesses on soon to be launched Delhi-Agra Gatiman Express, the first train in India to run at a speed of 160 kmph. Gearing up to launch the Gatiman Express next month, Railway Minister is expected to announce special features of the first semi-high speed train in the country when he presents the Rail Budget today. While Shatabdi takes 120 minutes to cover the 200 km distance, Gatiman Express proposes to complete the journey in 105 minutes. Indian Railway plans to roll out such trains on 9 more routes including Kanpur-Delhi, Chandigarh-Delhi, Hyderabad-Chennai, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Goa-Mumbai and Nagpur-Secunderabad.
Railway stocks
Shares of companies that cater to the Railways, such as Texmaco Rail & Engineering, Titagarh Wagons, Kalindee Rail Nirman, Stone India, Container Corporation of India and Kernex Microsystems will remain in focus on Thursday.

09.55 am
What former chiefs of the Railway Board say:
"Unfortunately, the performance of railways has not kept pace with what has been planned. The total earnings – freight and passengers – have dropped dismally. I understand the total gap is about Rs. 17,000 crore. We also have the burden of the 7th Pay Commission of Rs.32,000 crore," K.C. Jena, who served as Railway Board Chairman between 2007-2009, said at a discussion on the railway budget organised by Assocham. "Therefore, the railway budget this year is going to be a really tough one," he said. While supporting an increase in both passenger and freight charges, R.N. Malhotra, who also served as Railway Board Chairman (2001-02) said the budget should focus on the management of rail construction companies so that there are no project delays. A passenger must know on what platform the train is coming, where the coach position is and on what stations I can order food—all that could be done through a mobile app and this is one thing that is missing," Arunendra Kumar, who was the Railway Board Chairman in 2013-14, said.
09.45 am
Suresh Prabhu may offer more culinary options for passengers in his Rail Budget to be presented today, so people may enjoy a variety of local cuisines during their train journeys. The Indian Railways is considering a greater focus on tie-ups with local vendors for offering such a choice to travellers, as part of an attempt to bolster its e-catering business.
Markets today
Circumspect behaviour by market-men saw the Nifty and the Sensex open flat to positive and trade flat on the day of February derivatives expiry. The Nifty opened 11 points up at 7,030, while the Sensex opened 16 points up at 23,105. Read more
9.30 am:
Railway Budget papers arrive at Parliament House. Photo: Kamal Narang

9.20 am: Despite the grim economic condition, the Railway Budget is expected to focus on massive capacity creation in the rail sector with an increased plan outlay of about Rs 1.25 lakh crore. A significant amount is likely to be earmarked for safety upgradation, electrification, doubling and modernisation of yards to clear traffic bottlenecks.

9.10 am: Railways Minister has laid stress on gradual, but sure-footed, structural changes. The three pillars of those changes, he says, are delegation of authority – a tall order in what is arguably "the most centralised organisation in India" – transparency of decision-making and the embrace of technology to enhance service standards. Read more
9.05 am: One of the more successful Ministers of the Modi Cabinet, Prabhu faces the unenviable dilemma of whether or not to raise fares and freight rates, with revenues dipping and demands rising for a variety of ambitious projects such as the Bullet Train. But with elections to four States ahead and fuel price falling, will the political leadership green-flag such a move? Read more

Published on February 25, 2016
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