Thursday, February 26, 2015

 Highlights of the Railway Budget 2015-16
Focus on cleanliness, safety and quality of life in journey

The budget highlighted the four goals for Indian Railways over next five years which include delivering a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience, making Railways a safer means of travel, expanding Bhartiya Rail’s capacity substantially and modernising infrastructure and making Bhartiya Rail financially self-sustainable. It also stated five key drivers for execution strategy which includes adopting a medium term perspective, building partnerships with key stake holders to gain access to long term financing and technology from overseas, the private sector to improve last mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernize our station infrastructure, leveraging additional resources, revamping management practices, systems, processes and re-tooling of human resources and setting standards of Governance and Transparency.

Snapshot of Railway Budget 2015-16

The budget stated the proposed investment plan for the period 2015-2019 amounting to Rs. 8,56,020 crore, which will facilitate network expansion, network decongestion, safety, research, passenger amenities, high speed rails and elevated corridors and station redevelopment and logistics parks.

PROPOSED INVESTMENT PLAN (2015-2019)
Item
Amount (Rs in crore)
Network Decongestion
199320
Network Expansion (including electrification)
193000
National Projects (North Eastern & Kashmir connectivity projects)
39000
Safety
127000
Information Technology / Research
5000
Rolling Stock
102000
Passenger Amenities
12500
High Speed Rail & Elevated corridor
65000
Station redevelopment and logistic parks
100000
Others
13200
TOTAL
8,56,020
Source: Railway Budget 2015-16, Ministry of Railways, Government of India

Quality of life in journeys—The major thrust areas of action plan focuses on establishing a new department for cleanliness “Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat” and “Bio toilets”, 24X7 helpline number and issuing unreserved tickets, coin vending machines, concessional e-tickets for differently abled travellers, developing a multi-lingual e-portal, etc. “SMS Alert” service informing passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations. Introducing centrally managed Railway Display Network in over 2000 stations in next two years. Further, 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations, online booking of wheel chair on payment basis for senior citizens, patients and the differently-abled passengers through IRCTC on select stations

Station Redevelopment-- Station redevelopment policy to be revamped and processes to be simplified

Network Expansion-- Decongesting networks with basket of traffic generating projects priority; priority to last mile connectivity projects ; fast track sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore, 84% higher Y-O-Y. Further, acceleration of pace of Railway electrification, 6,608 route kilometers sanctioned for 2015-16 ,an increase of 1330% over the previous year.

Expansion of freight handling capacity --Transport Logistics Corporation of India (TRANSLOC), to be set up for developing common user facilities with handling and value-added services to provide end-to-end logistics solution at select Railway terminals through Public Private Partnerships.

Improving train speed--Speed of 9 railway corridors to be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively. Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains; loading density on all major freight bearing routes to be upgraded to 22.82 tonne axle loads.

Bullet train--Feasibility study for High Speed Rail between Mumbai-Ahmadabad is in advanced stage and report expected by the mid of this year. For other high speed routes on the diamond quadrilateral,studies are being commissioned.

Safety--Action plan being prepared for areas where accidents occur and five-year corporate safety plan by June 2015 indicating annual quantifiable targets. Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Indian Space Research Organization, using geo-spatial technology for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings; radio based signal design project been taken up with IIT Kanpur for warnings at unmanned level crossing.

Technology Upgradation--Constituting an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways. Further, technology portal being constituted to invite innovative technological solutions. IT vision to be unveiled, information on latest berth availability station navigation system, bar coded/ Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking of parcels and freight wagons, automated parcel warehouses. Integration of train control and asset management applications.

Partnerships for development Public Private Partnership (PPP) cell to be revamped to make it result oriented.  Projects for rail connectivity to many ports and mines being developed. Further, Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation scheme” to be launched. Joint ventures to be set up with States for focused project development, resource mobilization,land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.

Resource Mobilisation-- Plan Budget up by 52% from Rs. 65,798 crore to Rs. 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16. Support from the Central Government 41.6% of the Plan and Internal generation 17.8 %. Further, setting up of a Financing Cell in the Railway Board. Setting up an infrastructure fund, a holding company and a JV with an existing NBFC of a PSU with Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), for raising long term debt from domestic as well as overseas sources, including multilateral and bilateral financial institutions.

Energy and sustainability --Environment Directorate to be constituted and detailed energy audit for energy saving.  Procuring power through the bidding process which is likely to save at least Rs. 3,000 crore in next few years. 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and Railway buildings with subsidy/viability gap funding support of Ministry of Non-Renewable Energy in next five years.

Transparency and Governance initiatives --System of on-line applications introduced and e-procurement value chain being expanded. Constituting a mechanism for making regulations, setting performance standards, determining tariffs & adjudicating disputes among licensees/private partners and the Ministry, subject to review in appeal.

Social initiatives --Infrastructure to be made available for skill development and promotion of products made by Self Help Groups, consisting mainly of women and youth on the model of Konkan Railway.

Tourism --Incredible Rail for Incredible India to be launched and training of auto-rickshaw and taxi-operators as tourist-guides on the model of Konkan Railway.  Coaches in select trains connecting major tourist destinations to travel agencies may be offered on a revenue sharing model.  Gandhi circuit to be used to attract tourists to mark the occasion of 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa; IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme for farmers for farming & marketing technique centres. 

Budget Estimates for 2015-16-- Passenger earnings growth is pegged at 16.7% with a target budget at Rs. 50,175 crore. Freight traffic is pegged at an all time high incremental traffic of 85 million tonnes, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of economy. Other coaching and sundries are projected at Rs. 4,612 crore and Rs. 7,318 crore. Gross Traffic Receipts has been estimated at Rs 1,83,578 crore with a growth of 15.3%. Appropriation to Pension Fund proposed at Rs 35,260 crore and appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF) at Rs 8,100 crore. Appropriation of Rs 7,616 crore proposed to be made to Capital Fund for payment of principal component of lease charges to IRFC (Indian Railway Finance Corporation). The plan outlay stands at Rs 1,00,011 crore for the year 2015-16 with an increase of 52% over RE 2014-15.

UNIC New Delhi in collaboration with CUCAI (Confederation of UN Clubs and Associations of India) is organizing an observance of International Wildlife Day on Friday, 27 February 11 am at UN Conference Hall, 55 Lodi Estate, New Delhi.

UNIC has invited senior Government of India bureaucrat Raghav Chandra, who is an avowed wildlife activist and has extensively written for national journals on issues relating to sustainability and development. He is also the author of the acclaimed wildlife fiction, SCENT OF A GAME about the trade in endangered species (CITES) and the tiger. The audience of School Principals and teachers are an innovative audience for this observance, since UNIC hopes that through them several hundred students will be catalysed on awareness of wildlife protection and wildlife crime. 
With best regards,

Description: Description: cid:image001.jpg@01CA2C88.ADE04150
RAJIV CHANDRAN
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan
55 Lodi Estate, New Delhi-110003, INDIA
Phone:  91-11-4653-2237
mobile:  98106-06833

Nine Major Thrust Areas in the Railway Budget 2015-16

            The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu while presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today has said that there are nine thrust areas in this Budget which are as follows:

1.      Indian Railways to become prime mover of economy once again
2.      Resource Mobilization for higher Investments
3.      Decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding up of trains: emphasis on gauge conversion, doubling, tripling and electrification
4.      Project delivery
5.      Passenger Amenities.
6.      Safety
7.      Transparency & System Improvement.
8.      Railways to continue to be the preferred mode of transport for the masses.
9.      Sustainability.
Railway Minister Outlines Four Goals for Transforming Indian Railways over next Five Years

            The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has outlined four goals for Indian Railways to transform it over the next five years. These goals are:

a) To deliver a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience, the Indian Railways is launching initiatives that will systematically address customer concerns about cleanliness, comfort, accessibility, service quality and speed of trains.

b) To make Rail a safer means of travel.

c) To expand Bhartiya Rail’s capacity substantially and to modernise infrastructure. Given the importance of rail travel for the citizens, Indian Railways will increase daily passenger carrying capacity from 21million to 30 million. It will also increase track length by 20% from 1,14,000 km to 1,38,000 km, and will grow its annual freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tonnes. And

d) To make Bhartiya Rail financially self-sustainable, the Indian Railways will generate large surpluses from its operations not only to service the debt needed to fund capacity expansion, but also to invest on an on-going basis to replace its depreciating assets. This will require material improvement in operating efficiency, tighter control over costs, greater discipline over project selection and execution, and a significant boost to Railways’ revenue generating capacity.

Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today the Minister said, these goals will also ensure that Railways is an integral part of all the flagship programmes that our Prime Minister has launched for improving the quality of life of the downtrodden, from ‘Swachh Bharat’ to Make in India, and from ‘Digital India’ to ‘Skill India’.
No hike in Railway Passenger Fares

Plan Outlay proposed Rs. 1,00,011 crore, increased by 52%

Allocation for passenger amenities up by 67%

Railways to become prime mover of Indian Economy, Five years action plan proposed

Rail Budget seeks resource mobilization for higher investment

Thrust on measurable and sustainable improvement in passenger experience and to make Rail a safer means of travel

Hot buttons, coin vending machines for railway tickets within 5 minutes, e-catering to select meals from an array of choices

200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations

24X7 helplines for attending passenger problems and security related complaints

For the safety of women passengers surveillance cameras in suburban coaches

More General class coaches will be added in identified trains.

The speed of nine railway corridors will be increased to 160 and 200 kmph

Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System to be installed on select routes

77 new projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works proposed

A new department for keeping stations and trains clean under Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan



Railway Budget presented today in Parliament proposed measures to make Indian Railways prime mover of Indian Economy once again. It seeks resource mobilization for higher investment, decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding of trains and project delivery, better passenger amenities and safety, and to make railways a preferred mode of transport for masses. Presenting the Budget in Parliament, Railway Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that all critical initiatives proposed will be pursued in mission mode.


The Budget proposals have set four goals to transform Indian Railways over next five years which are- a sustainable and measurable improvement in customer experience,  make rail a safer means of travel, expansion of capacity substantially , modernization of infrastructure and finally to make railways financially self-sustainable. To achieve these goals the budget proposes five drivers which include adopting a medium-term perspective plan consisting of White Paper, a Vision-2030 document and a five year action plan. Building Partnerships with key stakeholders for long term financing and overseas technology, improving last mile connectivity, expanding fleet of rolling stock and modernization of station infrastructure are included in these drivers. Railways will also leverage additional resources; envisages investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years.

Revamping management practices, systems, processes, and re-tooling of human resources will be taken up by the Railways to achieve targeted operating ratio for 2015-16 at 88.5%. Fast decision making, tight accountability, improved management information systems and better training and development of human resource will also be part of the action plan to achieve the goals.

In order to make travel on Indian Railways a happy experience, the Budget has given thrust on Cleanliness and proposes a new department for keeping stations and trains clean under Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. New toilets will be built at 650 additional stations; online booking of disposable bed rolls will be made available. 24X7 helpline number 138;toll-free number 182 for security related complaints have also been proposed in the budget.

In order to make ticketing more passenger friendly the Budget proposes “operation five minutes” for issuing unreserved tickets, hot buttons, coin vending machines, concessional e-tickets for differently abled travelers, for booking tickets a multi-lingual e-portal  will be developed. Crediting of refunds through banks and unreserved tickets on Smart phones will be available. Proliferation of automatic ticket vending machines with smart cards and currency options, integrated ticketing system on the lines of rail-cum-road tickets, Defence Travel System developed for elimination of Warrants have also been proposed in the Budget.

The Budget has proposed e-catering to select meals from an array of choices. Ordering food through IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets; integrating best food chains into this project; setting up of Base Kitchens in specified divisions to be run by reputed agencies for serving quality food and expansion of water vending machines will be taken up.

Hand-held terminals to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs) for verification of passengers will now be provided for verification of passengers, possibility of extending facility of SMS on mobiles as a valid proof of travel for PRS tickets will be explored. A centrally managed Railway Display Network in over 2000 stations in next two years will be included besides  “SMS Alert” service to inform passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations.

For the safety of women passengers surveillance cameras will be provided on a pilot basis in selected mainline coaches and ladies’ compartments of suburban coaches.

The Railways will also take up a project for introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains; Mobile phone charging facilities will be provided in general class coaches & will be increased in sleeper class coaches.

Now, 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations; facility of self-operated lockers will be available at stations. Passenger capacity in identified trains will be augmented; more General class coaches will be added in identified trains. The Railways has also approached NID to design user friendly ladders for climbing upper berths. It has also proposed more quota of lower berths for senior citizens. TTEs will now be instructed to help senior citizens, pregnant women and differently-abled persons in obtaining lower berths; middle bay of coaches to be reserved for women and senior citizen.  Provision of Rs. 120 crore has been made for Lifts and escalator; newly manufactured coaches will now be Braille enabled; building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers; allocation for passenger amenities up by 67%.

The Railways has proposed to revamp its station development policy completely and simplifies process for faster development by inviting open bids. It has proposed to develop 10 Satellite Railway terminals in major cities with twin purpose of decongesting the city and providing services to suburban passengers.


Seventy seven projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with electrification, covering almost all States, at a cost of Rs. 96,182 crore will be taken up. Traffic facility works a top priority with outlay of Rs. 2374 crore have been proposed. In order to accelerate the pace of Railway electrification, 6,608 route kilometres will be sanctioned for 2015-16, an increase of 1330% over the previous year.


As per the Budget proposal, the speed of 9 railway corridors will  be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight. Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains.


Declaring safety of paramount importance for Railways, an action plan has been proposed for accident prone areas. The Budget also proposes 970 ROB/RUBs and other safety-related works to eliminate 3438 level crossings at a total expense of Rs. 6,581 crore, 2600% higher than the previous year. Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System will be installed on select routes at the earliest.


The Budget proposes constituting an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways besides setting up of Technology portal to invite innovative technological solutions. Four Railway Research Centers in select universities for fundamental research have also been proposed besides ‘Malaviya Chair’ for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi.

PPP cell of Railways will be revamped to make it result oriented, “Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation scheme” will be launched. Joint ventures will be set up with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects. In order to meet the requirements of new lines JVs will also be set up with major public sector customers.


Rail Budget has also proposed Coastal Connectivity Program in partnership with ports for Nargol, Chharra, Dighi, Rewas and Tuna. Besides this, projects worth Rs 2500 crore will be taken up through BOT/ Annuity route. These include Wardha- Nagpur 3rd line, Kazipet-Vijaywada 3rd line, Bhadrak –Nargundi 3rd line and Bhuj- Nalia Gauge Conversion.

In order to make Indian Railways more environment friendly, 100 DEMUs will be enabled for dual fuel – CNG and diesel. Locomotives running on LNG are also currently under development. Noise levels of locos to be at par with international norms; concerns related to wildlife to be addressed.

As a part of its social initiatives, now Rail stations and training centers will be made available for skill development. Incredible Rail for Incredible India will be launched and training of auto-rickshaw and taxi-operators as tourist-guides on the model of Konkan Railway will be taken up for tourism promotion. IRCTC will work on promoting the Gandhi circuit to attract tourists to mark the occasion of 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa. Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme for farmers for farming & marketing technique centres has also been proposed.


According to Budget Estimates, Plan Outlay for 2015-16 has been proposed to Rs 1,00,011 crore, an increase of 52% over RE 2014-15 plan size. Out of this 41.6% resources will come from Central Government support while 17.8 % will be generated from internal resources.  


Resource Mobilization for higher Investments 
Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhkar Prabhu has said that the passenger earnings which were budgeted to increase by 22.2% have been scaled down to 17.7% keeping in view the persistent negative growth trend, particularly in non suburban non-PRS segment of travel. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today, he said there is a net reduction in Gross Traffic Receipts by Rs 917 crore in RE compared to the BE of Rs 1,60,165 crore.

The Railway Minister said Ordinary Working Expenses (OWE) in BE were provided for at an increase of 15.5% over 2013-14 which has been scaled down to 11.7% in the RE. Taking into account the likely savings accruing from drop in prices of HSD (High Speed Diesel) for traction partly offset by higher requirements under certain heads for maintenance, safety and cleanliness activities, the budgeted OWE of Rs 1,12,649 crore have been decreased in the RE 2014-15 to Rs. 1,08,970 crore i.e. by Rs 3,679 crore.

He said BE provided for an appropriation of Rs 28,865 crore to Pension Fund. However, based on trend, the pension outgo has been assessed to be higher than the provision made in BE. Accordingly, appropriation to the Pension Fund has been increased to Rs. 29,540 crore in RE. Internal resource generation also improved and accordingly the appropriation to DRF has been scaled up to Rs 7,975 crore in RE from the BE 2014-15 provision of Rs 7,050 crore.

Shri Prabhu said after taking into account the above, "Excess" of receipts over expenditure stands at Rs 7,278 crore in RE 2014-15. With the above estimates, the targeted Operating Ratio is 91.8% against 92.5% in BE, which is an improvement of 0.7% percentage point over BE and 1.8% over 2013-14. Plan size for 2014-15 has increased from Rs 65,445 crore in the B.E to Rs 65,798 crore in the Revised Estimates i.e. by Rs 353 crore with higher provisions under internal resource component and market borrowings for rolling stock requirement. 
Railways Proposes to Set up Joint Ventures with states and Major Public Sector Companies
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to set up joint ventures with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects. Introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today, he informed the members that most of them have conveyed their acceptance to this proposal. The expansion of railway network to remote and backward areas serves as an engine for growth and brings overall socio economic development in the region.

The Railway Minister has also announced the proposal to set up Joint Ventures (JVs) with major public sector companies who are Railways customers for meeting their requirements of new lines. Such focused execution of works will ensure faster completion and ultimately provide the much needed path for them to transport their produce and at the same time generate revenues for Railways. 

Railways to Work on ‘Swachh Rail - Swachh Bharat’
The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that ensuring higher standards of cleanliness is of utmost priority for Indian Railways. He said, his Ministry wants to make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the Government’s flagship programme ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16in Parliament today Shri Prabhu said, the Railways now works on – ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’. Outlining the proposals on cleanliness he said, the Railways proposes to create a new department for keeping stations and trains clean. Integrated cleaning will be taken up as a specialized activity, which will include engaging professional agencies and also training staff in the latest cleaning practices. He said, Railways plans to set up ‘waste to energy’ conversion plants near major coaching terminals to dispose waste in an environment-friendly manner. One pilot plant will be set up, to begin with, followed by more plants in a phased manner.

The Railway Minister said, the condition of toilet facilities in stations and trains needs major improvement. The Railways will build new toilets covering 650 additional stations compared to 120 stations last year. Bio-toilets are being fitted in coaches. He said, so far the Railways has replaced the existing toilets with 17,388 bio toilets. This year it intends to replace another 17,000 toilets. Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has also been tasked with making available within a period of six months a design for vacuum toilets.

Shri Prabhu said, Even as the quality of Indian Railways’ On-board Housekeeping Service (OBHS), presently available in 500 pairs of trains, is being re-looked to make it more effective, the Railways will take simple steps immediately to address customer concerns. The feasibility of a disposable bag along with bedroll for the purpose of collecting their garbage is being considered. The coverage of built in dustbins will be extended to non-AC coaches as well.

The Minister appealed all citizens to keep Indian Railways clean as it is their travelling home.

Railways to Digitize Mapping of Land Records to Counter Encroachment of Railways Land

Railways for a Comprehensive Policy to Tap Latent Advertising Potential
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that encroachment on the Railway Land is a serious issue and to counter this, digitized mapping of land records has been initiated and responsibility will be fixed on officials for any encroachments. Presenting Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he dwelt upon the resource mobilization by Railways.

He informed the members that Railways is drawing up a comprehensive policy to tap the latent advertising potential. The new strategy would harness all avenues including offering stations and trains for corporate branding. It is launching a Coastal Connectivity Program this year where Railways in partnership with the concerned ports will deliver rail connectivity to Nargol, Chharra, Dighi, Rewas and Tuna. This programme is expected to mobilize investments of approximately Rs 2000 crore. It proposes to launch projects worth Rs 2500 crore through BOT/ Annuity route. These include Wardha- Nagpur 3rd line, Kazipet-Vijaywada 3rd line, Bhadrak –Nargundi 3rd line and Bhuj- Nalia Gauge Conversion.

The Minister also informed that a Scrap disposal policy of the Indian Railways will be reviewed for speedier scrap disposal.
Railways Intends to set up an Innovation Council Called “Kayakalp” for Purpose of Business Re-Engineering

Railways Proposes to set up ‘Malaviya Chair’ for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the Railways intends to set up an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for the purpose of business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways in accordance with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister for Innovation, Technology Development and Manufacturing. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he opined that every dynamic and thriving organization needs to innovate and re-invent its practices.

The Railway Minister informed the members that Government of India has conferred Bharat Ratna on Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and to mark the centenary celebrations of Banaras Hindu University, Railways proposes to set up ‘Malaviya Chair’ for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi. This Chair will help in development of new materials to be used in all assets of Railways.

Railways have decided to strengthen the RDSO into an organization of excellence for applied research. RDSO would collaborate with institutions of repute. Railways will set up in 2015-16 four Railway Research Centers in select universities for doing fundamental research.

The Railways Minister stressed on the need to invest in fundamental and applied research for seeking solutions to rail-specific issues. Railways intends to set up a technology portal to invite innovative technological solutions.

He informed the members that a consortium of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Science And Technology and Industries on an Investment Sharing Model is being set up as part of Technology Mission for Indian Railways to take up identified Railway projects for research.

Railways to Set up Financial Cell to Seek Advice from Experts
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that the size of the Plan Budget has gone up by 52% from Rs. 65,798 crore in 2014- 15 to Rs. 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16. Support from the Central Government constitutes 41.6% of the total Plan Budget and Internal generation 17.8 %. Introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he said that in view of the fact that it would be a challenging task to initiate the mobilization of extra-budgetary resources, it is proposed to set up a Financing Cell in the Railway Board, which would seek the benefit of advice from experts in this field.

The Railways Minister informed the members that for financing remunerative projects through market borrowings, it is intended to tap low cost long term funds from insurance and pension funds, multi-lateral and bilateral agencies which can be serviced through incremental revenues. Railways will create new vehicles to crowd in investment from long-term institutional investors and other partners. These may include setting up an infrastructure fund, a holding company and a Joint Venture with an existing NBFC of a PSU with IRFC, for raising long term debt from domestic as well as overseas sources, including multilateral and bilateral financial institutions that have expressed keen interest in working closely with Railways in this endeavor. Railways will monetize its assets rather than sell them, he added.

Train Protection Warning System & Train Collision Avoidance System on Select Routes

Railways Enhances Its Safety Measures
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that Railways proposes to install Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System on select routes at the earliest. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today, he informed the members that to prevent fire in coaches and also prevent coaches from climbing over each other during accidents, RDSO has been asked to develop new systems.

The Railway Minister informed the members that to curb derailments, modern track structure consisting of sleepers and heavier rails are being used while carrying out primary track renewals. Better welding techniques would also be promoted. Further, analogue machines for testing of rails are being replaced with digital type machines, which are more reliable.

Railways Intends to set up a Working Group to Modify the Present System of Accounting

Railways to Digitally Integrate Vendors Through Vendor Interface Management System
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has informed that the Railways intends to set up a working group to modify the present system of accounting, to ensure tracking of expenditure to desired outcomes. Introducing the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he said that Railways have limited resources and thus must ensure that all public expenditure results in an optimal outcome. The data on costing would be available online including costs incurred on constructing, augmenting, maintaining and operating railway lines. This would also help in undertaking post commissioning evaluation studies.

He informed the members that Railways proposes to have the train operations audited with a view to increasing productivity and bringing in transparency.

Railways is also proposing to expand paperless working in our material management system. In line with focus on ease of doing business, it will digitally integrate our vendors through Vendor Interface Management System to provide single window interface to vendors.
Rs. 6,581 Crore Sanctioned for Elimination of 3438 Level Crossings in Next Financial Year
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced that in the next financial year 970 number of ROB/RUBs and other safety-related works to eliminate 3438 level crossings at a total Railway expense of Rs. 6,581 crore have been sanctioned. This is more than 2600% higher than the sanctioned number of ROBs/RUBs during the current year and the highest ever in recent times. These projects cover almost all States of our Union. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he informed the members that keeping in view the critical need to facilitate the construction of ROB/RUB’s, a web based application has been commissioned with user-friendly measures for online submission and approval of drawings within 60 days and an MOU has also been signed with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in this regard.

The Railways Minister emphasized that the ultimate objective of the Railways is to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by construction of Road over Bridges (ROBs) and Road under Bridges (RUBs). In the short term, RDSO has been asked to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Indian Space Research Organization, using geo-spatial technology for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings. Further, a radio based signal design project has been taken up with IIT Kanpur for warnings at unmanned level crossing. 
Seventy Seven New Railway Projects
Worth Rs. 96,182 Crore Sanctioned
While last mile connectivity projects continue to be accorded the highest priority, the Railways intend to fast track the sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore. Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said this budgetary allotment under Capital is 84% higher than 2014-15. He said, “We also intend commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion. Additionally, we have sanctioned 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with their electrification at a total cost of Rs. 96,182 crore which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned in 2013-14, 2014-15 being a Plan holiday”.

The Minister said the priority for undertaking projects has been determined by a designated committee for capacity enhancement, revenue generation and decongestion. He said negotiations are on with financial institutions for funding of these projects through extra budgetary resources. These projects cover almost all States, the Minister added.
Foreign Rail Technology Co-Operation Scheme Proposed to be Launched
The Union Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has announced the proposal to launch “Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation Scheme” in order to achieve the higher quality service for our nation. Presenting the Railway Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament today he said that Technology intensive and complex projects like speed raising and station redevelopment require lot of handholding by a specialized agency in terms of preparatory work, exploring technology options and managing bid processes. Indian Railways have signed in the past MOUs for technical cooperation with number of foreign railways or their entities.  
Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has said that hand-held terminals will be provided to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs), which can be used for verification of passengers and downloading charts. This system will help the Railways to move towards paperless ticketing and charting and expedite finalization of refund claims apart from saving of paper. 

Presenting the Railway Budget 2015-16 in Parliament today Shri Prabhu said, Railways is also exploring the idea of extending the facility of SMS on mobiles as a valid proof of travel for PRS tickets as well. 

He said, an integrated customer portal is being put in place, which will be a single interface for the customers to access different services. Seamless navigation would be possible across different websites of Railways.

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