Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi presented his maiden budget for 2012-13 on Wednesday announcing a marginal hike in passenger fares across all classes of category ranging from Re 0.02 to Re. 0.30 per kilometer for the first time in ten years and left the recently-hiked freight rates untouched. He also raised platform ticket rate from the present Re.3 to Re.5.
The budget focuses on five important aspects -- safety, consolidation, decongestion, capacity augmentation and modernization. It also envisages bring down of operating ratio from the 95 percent to 84.9 in 2012-13.
The Railways recently had increased freight rates for all commodities, including foodgrains, fertilizer, cement, coal, and petroleum products, ranging from 15 to 35 percent commodity-wise to fetch around Rs.20,000 crore.
Trivedi announced introduction of new express and passenger trains and four new rail coach factories.
He also indicated that the Railways would focus on innovative means of raising revenues in the absence of desired gross budgetary support from the government.
The Minister said, "While balancing my budget this year and formulating the Rail Budget for the next fiscal, I have had a hard look at the revenue model available to us and have realized the true import of the dictum - one who does not help himself is helped by none."
Annual Plan for 2012-13
Trivedi told the House that the budget would have the highest-ever annual plan outlay of Rs.60,100 crore, providing Rs.6,872 crore for new lines and significant funds for passengers safety, security and amenities.
He said the plan outlay would be financed through gross budgetary support of Rs.24,000 crore, railway safety fund of Rs.2,000 crore; internal resources of Rs.18,050 crore; and extra budgetary resources of Rs.16,050 crore, which includes market borrowing of Rs.15,000 crore through IRFC.
Passenger fares to go up by Re.0.02 per km on suburban and ordinary second class, Re.0.03 per km for all mail/express second class, Re.0.05 per km for sleeper class, Rs.10 per km for A/C chair car, AC 3-tier and First Class, Re.0.15 per km A/C 2-tier, and Re.0.30 per km for A/C First class.
Minimum fare and platform ticket to cost Rs.5.
The value of concessions extended by Railways to certain section of passengers is more than Rs.800 crore a year, he said. Continuing this contribution of the Indian Railways to the society, he also announced 50 percent concession in fare in AC-2, AC-3, chair car and sleeper classes to patients suffering from Aplastic Anaemia and Sickle Cell Anaemia.
In recognition of the laurels which the winners of Arjuna Awards have brought to the country through their outstanding performance in their respective sports, it is also proposed to extend travel facility enjoyed by them to Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains also.
To give relief to the poorest section of the society, travel distance under 'Izzat Scheme' has also been increased from 100 kms to 150 kms, thus covering all designated suburban sections keeping the rate of Rs.25 unchanged.
SMS on mobile phones in case of e-ticket to be accepted as proof of valid reservation.
Trivedi proposed to introduce 75 new express trains, 21 passenger trains, eight MEMUs and nine DEMUs during 2012-13, besides introducing Guru Parikrama Special Trains for Sikh pilgrimage.
The Minister also announced extension of 39 trains, increase in the frequency of 23 trains, 75 additional suburban services in Mumbai and 44 new suburban services for Kolkata. 50 new services in Kolkata Metro and 18 additional services in Chennai area. A total of 725 km new lines will also be taken up during the year.
Estimates for 2012-13
Gross Traffic Receipts for FY13 is projected at Rs.132,552 crore, an increase of Rs.28,635 crore over the revised estimates of 2011-12. It will be met through freight earnings target of Rs.89,399 crore and Rs.36,0736 crore from passenger revenue.
He announced that freight loading during 2012-13 was expected to be 1,025 million tonnes, which will be 55 MT more than the revised estimated target of 970 million tonne for 2011-12. The passenger growth for the year is pegged at 5.4 per cent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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