Feb 26, 2003|
Key measures - Railway Budget 2003-04
- No hike in passenger fares.
Fares for Rajdhani Express to be reduced by 10% during July 15 – September 15, 2003 (the off season) on a trial basis. This move is aimed at rationalising tariffs based on seasons (peak season and off season) in premium trains and make them more attractive vis-à-vis’ air travel.
Fares of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains will now be only at a 15% premium as compared to the nearest mail train (A/C or first class fare).
Refunds (in case of cancellation) can now be collected at any computerised railway booking centre, upto 3 hrs after the train reaches its destination.
The age criteria for senior citizens concession of 30% on fares is now reduced to 60 years for males (from earlier 65 years). For women the criteria is already at 60 years age.
Travel concessions between 50%-75% for passengers traveling in A/C or first class for treatment of cancer, thalesmmia and some other critical diseases.
Freight rate measures
No increase in freight rate proposed.
Reduction in freight rates for petroleum products, in lieu of guaranteed traffic.
In a bid to attract more business freight rates for upto 100 kms have been given added concessions. For carriage upto 50 kms, freight rates will be at a 50% discount, for 51 kms to 75 kms, the discount will be 25% and for 76 kms to 100 kms the freight discount will be 10%.
‘To pay’ surcharge on coal reduced from existing 15% to 10%. For all other commodities, from the existing 10% to 5%.
All in all, the Railway Minister has tried to rationalise tariffs in a bid to stave off competition from roadways and air travel. Of course, he could also be keeping an eye on the coming elections and therefore may have desisted from taking hard measures. The minister’s speech was as usual, strong on development promises, and spiced with promises of more trains across regions, but not very categorical about ways to increase the Railways profitability. Is the rail budget a preface to what is coming in the Union Finance Bill?
However, the Indian Railway network is likely to get a boost from the Prime Minister’s promise of an outlay of Rs 15 bn for the development and upgradation of this mammoth organisation.
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