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  • : Railway Budget 2008-09: Key extracts

    Railway Budget 2008-09: Key extracts

    The budget activity has begun today with the railway minister Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, presenting the Railway Budget for 2008-09 a short while ago. Here are some of the key announcements made by the minister.

    • As far as passenger services are concerned, the minister has announced introduction of 10 new Garib Raths and 53 new pairs of trains. The budget has also proposed route extension for 16 currently operational pairs.

    • The Railways plan to offer tickets through mobile phones, while plans are on the anvil to introduce 15,000 ticketing counters in the next 2 years and issuance of wait-listed e-tickets. There are plans to provide escalators at major stations in the country.

    • There is relief for passengers traveling by AC class as AC I and AC II tier fare has been reduced by 7% and 4% respectively. The budget also enhanced senior citizen concession for women from the current 30% to 50% and 50% concession has been provided for AIDS patient traveling to nominated ART centres.

    • On the safety front, close circuit TV and bomb detecting equipment to be installed at major stations. Automatic signaling system to be installed in new sections.

    • On the industry front, the government has refrained from increasing freight rates given the competition from road transport. In fact, the freight rates for the movement of diesel and petrol have been reduced by 5%. There are plans to enhance rail capacity and modernisation of railways, clearance given for western freight corridor from Delhi to JNPT, Nhava Sheva, adjoining Mumbai and doubling of lines on a priority basis.

    • Initiatives have been announced for targeting higher share in transportation of cement and steel (200 MT each by 2011-12). The minister has also aimed at a container traffic target of 100 MT by 2011-12 and focus on enhancement of throughput work serving important coal links.

    • Other initiatives on the anvil include Public Private Partnership to be launched for attracting investment of Rs 1,000 bn over the next five years for modernisation of stations, rolling stock manufacturing, running of container trains, etc.

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