Railway Budget 2012-13 Highlights – Current GK Update

It has been months since one of the most visionary railways budget of India was announced. However, things changed soon after. The railway budget is important if you are preparing for Current GK part of an exam.

We are providing highlights of the Railway Budget 2012-13 (as announced by Mr. Dinesh Trivedi) that will help you answer questions based on aspects of Indian Railway. This is especially important for people preparing for RRB Recruitment.

 

New Trains

The Minister has proposed 75 new Express trains, 21 new passenger services, 9 DEMU services and 8 MEMU services. Trivedi also announced the extension of the 39 trains; increase in the frequency of 23 trains; 75 additional services to run in Mumbai suburban; 44 new suburban services to be introduced in Kolkata area; 50 new services to be introduced in Kolkata Metro; and 18 additional services to be run in Chennai area.

 

Concession in Passenger fares

The Budget also provides for 50% concession in fare in AC-2, AC-3, Chair Car & Sleeper classes to patients suffering from ‘Aplastic Anaemia’ and ‘Sickle Cell Anaemia’. It also provides for extending the facility of travel by Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to Arjuna Awardees. The travel distance under ‘Izzat Scheme’ has also been increased from 100 kms to 150 kms.

 

Plan Outlay

Proposing highest ever plan outlay for the Railway Budget, the Railway Minister said that it will be financed through Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) 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.

 

New lines, guage conversion, electrification

The Railway Budget provides for 725 km new lines; 700 km doubling; 800 km gauge conversion and 1,100 km electrification. Rs 6,872 crore have been provided for new lines; Rs 3,393 crore for doubling; Rs 1,950 crore for gauge conversion and Rs 828 crore have been provided for electrification.

 

Modernisation plans

During the next five years Ministry of Railways plans to modernize nearly 19000 km track through renewal, upgradation of track, replacement and strengthening of 11,250 bridges to run heavier freight trains of 25 tonne axle load and to achieve passenger train speed of 160 kmph and over, with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 63, 212 crore. The Minister of Railways Shri Dinesh Trivedi introducing the Railway Budget for 2012-13 in Parliament today said, an allocation of Rs. 6,467 crore has been made in the Annual Plan 2012-13, which forms about 11% of the total plan outlay.

 

The Minister said, with almost 80% of the traffic carried on 40% of the rail network, the high density network (HDN) routes are over-saturated and there is a crying need to upgrade and expand capacity to reduce congestion, provide time for maintenance and improve productivity and safety. This would include progressive shift to flash butt technology for welding of rails, progressive use of 60kg rails instead of 52 kg, provision of thick web switches at points & crossings, mechanized maintenance with the latest track machines and increased frequency of ultrasonic testing of tracks.

 

Safety measures

The Budget lays emphasis on safety and security of the passengers. Trivedi said that drawing from the recommendations of the Anil Kakodkar and Sam Pitroda Committees, he has chosen five focus areas. These are: Track; Bridges; Signalling & Telecommunication; Rolling Stock; and Stations & Freight Terminals. Under this a Railway Safety Authority has been proposed as statutory regulatory body; Missions will be created to implement the modernization programme; and setting up of a Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority is to be considered. Two new Board Members (Safety/Research and PPP/Marketing) are to be inducted.  Trivedi also announced the setting up of a Rail-Road Grade Separation Corporation to eliminate level crossings. Three ‘Safety Villages’ will also be set up at Bengaluru, Kharagpur andLucknowfor skill development for disaster management.

 

One of the significant advancement would be the provisioning of Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), which ensures automatic application of brakes whenever a driver over-shoots a signal at danger, thereby eliminating chances of collision of trains. To begin with, TPWS is proposed to be installed on more than 3,000 route kms, which would cover the entire automatic signalling territory on Indian Railways. He said, the Railways is taking necessary action to ensure that TPWS technology is suitably adapted to Indian conditions. Besides the efforts to develop TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System) integrating features of different technologies will be continued by RDSO. These would also be a pre-requisite to increase speed of passenger trains to 160 kmph. The total cost of various signalling and telecom works has been estimated to be Rs. 39,110 crore in the next 5 years. Towards this end, the Ministry proposes to provide Rs. 2,002 crore in 2012-13, which is more than double the allocation of the current year and the highest ever.

 

Security measures

Security of passengers has been of prime concern. It is proposed to complete the installation of Integrated Security System at all the 202 identified stations during 2012-13. Additionally, escorting of trains by RPF/GRP has been extended to almost 3500 trains. It is also proposed to integrate the RPF helpline with the All India Passenger helpline to facilitate much faster response to the security needs of passengers.

 

Logistics Corporation & High Speed Rail Authority

Railways has proposed to create a Logistics Corporation for development and management of existing railway goods sheds and multimodal logistics parks. This Corporation would aim to provide total logistics solutions to the rail-users, thereby cutting down on their operating costs. A National High Speed Rail Authority is also to be set-up.

 

Railway Stations/Passenger Amenities

The Railway Minister announced that an Indian Railway Station Development Corporation will be set up to redevelop stations through PPP mode. Highlighting the efforts being made to improve the amenities and to provide better experience to the passengers at stations the Minister said that 929 stations will be upgraded as Adarsh Stations including 84 stations proposed in 2012-13.  Specially designed coaches for differently-abled persons will be provided in each Mail/Express trains. RPF helpline will be integrated with the All India Passenger Helpline. SMS on passenger mobile phone in case of e-ticket will be accepted as proof of valid reservation. Satellite based real time train information system (SIMRAN) will be introduced to provide train running information to passengers through SMS, internet, etc. On board passenger displays indicating next halt station and expected arrival time will be introduced. 321 escalators will be installed at important stations of which 50 will be commissioned in 2012-13. Regional cuisine will be introduced at affordable rates.

 

The Railway Minister also announced launching of Book-a-meal scheme to provide multiple choices of meals through SMS or email. Coin/currency operated ticket vending machines will be introduced during 2012-13. Rail Bandhu on-board magazines will be distributed on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Duronto trains. The Railway Budget 2012-13 also proposes setting up of AC Executive lounges at important stations.

 

Coaching terminals

In last year’s budget speech, it was proposed to improve passenger amenities by developing 4 new coaching terminals at Nemam and Kottayam in Kerala, Malu in Uttar Pradesh and Dankuni inWest Bengal. Surveys and feasibility studies for developing coaching terminals at these four stations will be undertaken during 2012-13. A pre-feasibility study for development of Royapuram station in Tamil Nadu will also be undertaken.

 

The Budget has proposed to set up a Coaching Terminal at the birth place of Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay at Naihati, to commemorate his 175th Birth Anniversary. A museum will also be set up there. In memory of creator of “Vande Mataram”, the Railways will run a Special Train across the country to disseminate the legacy of Bankim Chandra to the young generation

 

Development of a new coaching complex in Navi Mumbai at Panvel and coach maintenance complex at Kalamboli in partnership with Government of Maharashtra through CIDCO are also planned. This will facilitate direct connectivity of Navi Mumbai to other parts of the country.

 

Connecting with neighbouring countries

To have cordial and improved relations with the neighbouring countries, Indian Railways takes up projects to provide rail connectivity to such countries. This year, it is proposed to take up a project to connect Agartala with Akhaura inBangladesh. This rail link will not only improve bilateral ties but will also help in establishing connectivity with inaccessible areas in northeast as journey from Kolkata to Tripura via Bangladesh will result in significant savings in time and distance travelled. Last year, two projects namely, Jogbani-Biratnagar new line and Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas line to provide connectivity toNepalwere taken up.

 

Manufacturing units for Coaches and Locomotives

Several initiatives have been taken in the recent past to take up railway based industries. The Rail wheel plant at Chhapra has successfully produced 78 wheels during 2011-12 and the plant would be ready for full commissioning in 2012-13. Similarly, the Rae Bareli Coach Factory is now ready for rolling out coaches and 10 coaches have already been manufactured. The Phase II of this factory would be commissioned in 2012-13.

 

Good progress has been made in the Diesel Component Factory at Dankuni with the commencement of trial production of underframes for high horse power locomotives. The factory will be fully commissioned in 2012-13. The Wagon Manufacturing Factory at Kulti and fiat bogey frame unit at Budge Budge are likely to commence production during 2012-13.

 

As per the request received from State Government of Odisha, a new wagon factory will be located at Sitapali, District Ganjam. A new Rail Coach Factory is proposed to be set up at Palakkad with the support of Government of Kerala. Similarly, two additional new manufacturing units for coaches are also proposed to be established in Kutch inGujaratand Kolar in Karnataka, the latter with the active participation of the State Government.

 

It is also proposed to establish a plant for manufacturing of traction alternators for high horse power diesel locomotives at Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. A factory is proposed to be set up on PPP basis at Shyamnagar inWest Bengalfor manufacture of next generation technology propulsion system for use in high power electric locomotive. It is also proposed to utilise and augment the electric loco Ancillaries Unit of CLW being set up at Dankuni for fabrication of locomotive shells and assembly of three phase locomotives for manufacturing of new generation 9000 HP locomotives under transfer of technology fromJapan. This unit will be a modern facility with capacity

 

High speed corridors

The Railway Minister announced that pre-feasibility studies on six high speed corridors have already been completed and study on Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer-Jodhpur will be taken up in 2012-13.

 

Employee Welfare

Announcing the measures for the welfare of railway employees, the Minister proposed a wellness programme for railway staff at their work places; ensuring proper rest for skilled and technical staff including the running crew; and institution of ‘Rail Khel Ratna’ Award for 10 rail sports-persons every year.

 

Eco-friendly measures

Caring for the environment, the Railway Minister announced the introduction of a ‘Green Train’ to run through the pristine forests of North Bengal; 200 remote railway stations will be set up as ‘green energy stations’ powered entirely by solar energy; solar lighting system will be provided at 1,000 manned level crossing gates;  2,500 coaches will be equipped with bio toilets. Shri Dinesh Trivedi also announced setting up of 72 MW capacity windmill plants in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu andWest Bengal.

 

Recruitment

The Minister said that during 2011-12 the railways recruited over 80,000 persons to fill up various vacancies; now he proposes to recruit over one lakh persons during 2012-13 so that backlog of SC/ST/OBC and other categories will be wiped off.

 

Earnings

The Railways proposes to target carrying 1025 Million Tonnes of revenue earning traffic during 2012-13. The target is 55 Million Tonnes more than the revised estimates of 970 Million Tonnes for the current fiscal. The freight earnings target has been kept at Rs. 89,339 crore, indicating a growth of 30.2% over the current year’s revised targets.

 

With the increase in number of trains and higher occupancy, the number of passengers is expected to increase by 5.4%. The passenger earnings are estimated at Rs. 36,073 crore, targeting an increase of Rs. 7,273 crore over the revised estimate of the current year.

 

The other coaching and sundry earnings are expected to grow by 8.9% and 10.7% in 2012-13 to Rs.2994 crore and Rs.4096 crore respectively. Gross traffic receipts are expected to increase by Rs. 28,635 crore over the revised estimates of 2011-12 and are expected to be Rs. 1,32,552 crore.

 

Working expenses

The Minister indicated that the ordinary working expenses are estimated at Rs. 84,400 crore which is 11.6% higher than the current year’s expenses. This also includes appropriation of Rs.18500 crore to pension fund. He said, to step up investment in safety, the appropriation to depreciation reserve fund has been enhanced to Rs. 9500 crore signifying an increase of about 54%

 

Operating Ratio

The Railways intends to bring down the operating ratio to 84.9% in 2012-13 as compared to 95% in the current year. He said if this trend continues, the operating ratio will improve upon even the best ever of 74.7% within the 12th Plan. The Minister said the landmark improvement in Railway Finances would enable building up a strong case to meet the challenges ahead and bring back the confidence of people in Railways, thereby dispelling all apprehensions that Indian Railways is going downhill.

 

Repayment of loans

Trivedi also announced Railway’s intention to return the full loan amount of Rs.3000 crore alongwith interest during the year which it has borrowed from the Finance Ministry to meet the urgent need of safety related investment in 2011-12.

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