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Budget 2017: Railways to focus on passenger safety, cleanliness and other reforms

Budget 2017: Railways to focus on passenger safety, cleanliness and other reforms

India Blooms News Service | | 01 Feb 2017, 04:37 pm
New Delhi, Feb 1 (IBNS): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while presenting the Union Budget 2017 on Wednesday, which included the Railway Budget for the first time, has proposed among other things, to introduce a 'coach mitra' facility that will be a single window interface to register all coach-related complaints and requirements.

In his Budget speech, Arun Jaitley said that the Indian Railways will focus on four major areas -- passenger safety, capital and development work, cleanliness, and financial and accounting reforms.

A 22 per cent rise in the Railways Budget was announced by the Finance Minister Jaitley.

It has been proposed that Indian Railways will offer competitive ticketing facility to the public and withdraw the service charge on rail tickets booked through IRCTC.

The Budget has proposed that Railways tariff will be fixed on the basis of cost social obligation and competitiveness with other transport mode.

For 2017-18, the Union Budget has pegged total capital and development expenditure of Railways at Rs 1,31,000 crore, which includes Rs 55,000 crore provided by the government.

Union Finance Minister said that Indian Railways will implement end to end integrated transport solutions for select commodities through partnership.

To raise awareness about sustainability and clean energy, the Budget has proposed to feed about 7000 stations with solar power in the next few years.

By 2019, all coaches of the Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets, the Finance Minister said in his budget speech.

Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy have also been proposed in the budget.

The minister said that a beginning has been made with regard to station redevelopment. 25 stations are expected to be awarded during 2017-18.

As many as 500 rail stations will be made differently abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators.

In the last Railway Budget, it had been proposed to commission railway lines of 2,800 km in 2016-17. This year, the merged Union Budget has proposed the commissioning of 3,500 km of railway lines in 2017-18.

Arun Jaitley said that for Indian Railways, expert international assistance will be harnessed to improve safety preparedness and maintenance practices.

Unmanned railway level crossings to be eliminated by 2020.

In his budget plans for the Indian Railways, the minister said that steps will be taken to launch dedicated trains for pilgrimage and tourism.

In his Budget speech, Jaitley has hinted about the announcement of a new metro rail policy that is expected to open up new jobs for the youth.

While presenting the General Budget 2017-18 in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Arun Jaitley has said that the shares of Railway Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) like IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON will be listed in stock exchanges. The Government will encourage strengthening the CPSEs through consolidation, mergers and acquisitions and soon create an integrated public sector ‘oil major’, he added.

Tweeted Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, tweeted, "Multimodal Logistics Parks & Multimodal Passenger Stations will be a game changer in logistics sector & public transportation.