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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Narendra Modi Railway Budget 2014 Details FDI

Narendra Modi Railway Budget 2014 Details FDI

Narendra Modi Railway Budget 2014 Details FDI
 Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda promised lifts, escalators, foot over bridge (FOB) and battery-operated chairs for differently-abled people at all major stations in his maiden Budget on Tuesday . The minister also announced the first Bullet Train for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

Extending the passenger-friendly services and calling for a revamp in the Railway reservation system, he proposed online booking facilities which will give commuters the choice to not only book the train but the coach, berth and seats as well. He also called for to popularize e-Ticketing through mobile phones and offering Wi-fi services in ‘A1 stations’.

The minister plans to upgrade the passenger services through the PPP route. He even proposed foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Railways, except operations, and sought Cabinet approval for the same.

“I seek Cabinet approval for foreign direct investment in Railways except in railway operations. The government will also look to fund future projects, including high-speed trains, via the public-private-partnership mode. We also need to leverage railway PSU resources. We will also look for ways to monetize Railways land,” he said.

While presenting his Budget in the Parliament, Gowda said he was flooded with requests for new trains and railway lines from all across. He said the Railways is targeting to become the largest freight carrier in the world.

Gowda made waves even before he presented his maiden budget with a 14.2 percent hike in passenger fares and a 6.5 percent increase in freight charges on June 25.

The Rail Minister said there was need to increase the fares to cut down the losses. “Railways are generating a meager surplus for capex every year and need Rs 50,000 crore every year for 10 years. The tariff policy lacked rational approach so far. Thus, the sector suffered from sanctioning of projects against completion,” he said.

On Railway catering services, Gowda proposed to introduce pre-cooked ready- to-eat meals by reputed brands. He said special care will be taken to keep a check on the quality of food served. In case of complaints, severe action will be taken against the vendor, which can even result into cancellation of licence. He also proposed to set up foodcourts at major stations.

Emphasising on the hygiene and cleanliness to be maintained at the stations, Gowda said the government will encourage corporate houses to adopt stations and the responsibility to keep the Railway premises clean will be outsourced. He said CCTV’s would be installed at the stations to monitor it. He aims to start it with 50 major stations.

Calling for better rail safety, the minister announced more recruitment in the Railway Protection Force (RPF), including hiring 4,000 women RPF constables.

Announcing to introduce system of speedy clearances for new rail tracks, the minister said that Railways need over Rs 40,000 crore for track renewals. He also proposed to take eco-tourism to northeastern states.

High-speed trains, world-class stations and safe journeys topped the government’s agenda in the Railway Budget.

The Railway Minister has allocated Rs 100-crore for the high-speed railway network. "We will create the Diamond Quadrilateral network (connecting five cities) for high-speed trains. We will also look to increase speed of some trains to 160-200 kph," he said.

Gowda also announced restructuring of the Railway board.

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