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Highlights of the Railway Budget 2007-08

Last updated on: February 26, 2007 16:51 IST

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad presented the Railway Budget 2007-08 in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Following are the highlights of the Railway Budget:

2006-07: Review of Performance and Revised Estimates

  • Record breaking performance in the first nine months of the year 2006-07
  • Freight earnings register growth of 17%. Incremental loading of 59 MT likely to be achieved
  • Growth in Passenger Earnings, Other Coaching Earnings and Sundry Earnings 14%, 48% and 11% respectively
  • Gross Traffic Earnings register an unprecedented growth of 17%
  • In Revised Estimates Passenger Earnings, Other Coaching Earnings, Freight Earnings and Sundry Earnings expected to be Rs 17,400 cr, Rs 1,726 cr and Rs 42,299 cr, Rs. 1,695 cr respectively
  • Gross Traffic Revenues projected at Rs 63,120 cr are 16% higher than the previous year and 5.5% higher than the Budget Estimates
  • Cash Surplus before dividend expected to be Rs 20,000 cr
  • Net Revenue expected at Rs 14,870 cr and Net surplus after payment of dividend expected at Rs 10,627 cr
  • Operating Ratio likely to be 78.7% - best ever for IR and one of the best in world Railways
  • Year end fund balances likely to increase from Rs 12,000 cr in 2005-06 to Rs 16,000 cr
  • Return on capital set to reach historic level of 20%
  • In spite of reduction in Passenger fares, the losses in passenger business expected to come down

2007-08: Initiatives taken for improvement in Freight Business

  • Target for freight loading kept at 785 Million Tonnes (MT) in 2007-08
  • Mission 200 MT - Railways' target higher share in transportation of Cement and Steel - 200 MT each by 2011-12
  • Mission 100 MT - container traffic target of 100 MT by 2011-12
  • Planning for Triple-stack container trains on diesel route and double-stack container trains on electrified route
  • Railways offer to run Merry-go-round systems of power plants
  • Upgradation of Freight terminals handling more than 15 rakes per month.
  • 22.9 tonnes and 25 tonnes axle-load freight trains to run on more routes
  • Production of wagons of higher axle-load and payload to commence
  • Wagon manufacturers to be encouraged to design wagons with higher payload and new technology
  • Majority of air-brake trains to be examined in accordance with premium CC or premium end-to-end examination system
  • Implementation of Unit Exchange Maintenance for rolling stock to improve productivity
  • Zonal Railway to engage independent marketing agencies for exploring further possibilities in freight business

Initiatives in passenger business:

  • 800 more coaches to be attached in popular trains
  • Plan to provide cushioned seats in unreserved second class coaches
  • Increase in unreserved second class coaches from four to six in every new train – Efforts will be made to increase unreserved second class coaches in existing trains also.
  • Facility for reservation of lower berths for senior citizens and women above 45 years traveling alone
  • Increase in provision of special coaches (SLRD & SRD) for Physically challenged passengers
  • Vendor coaches for sections frequented by milk and vegetable vendors and other retail sellers
  • More convenient, comfortable and high capacity new design passenger coaches will be manufactured
  • Concession of 50% in second class for candidates appearing for main written examination conducted by SSC and UPSC

Facilitating travel by passengers

  • Countrywide Train Enquiry call centres – Common Tel. No. 139
  • Pilot project for providing hand held terminals to TTEs in reserved coaches to update PRS with onboard vacancies for giving reservation to passengers at ensuing stations without delay
  • Expansion of reserved ticketing facilities
  • PRS counters to be opened at premises of Post-offices and Defence organizations to be operated by them
  • e-ticketing services through State Government's e-services, Petrol pumps, Bank's ATMs etc.
  • Expansion of Unreserved Ticketing facilities
  •  UTS counters to be increased to 8000 in the next 2 years
  • 6000 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines to be installed and linked to UTS in metropolitan cities in the next 2 years
  • Coupon system for ticket distribution to be extended to Kolkata and Chennai
  • Pilot project on Central Railway for issuing suburban tickets through multi-purpose smart cards

Passenger Amenities at Stations

  • 300 more stations to be developed as modern stations.
  • Year 2007 declared 'Cleanliness Year' - Special campaign to ensure cleanliness in station complexes, passenger trains, railway lines, waiting rooms etc.

11th five-year plan – Railways' new profile

  • Target of 1,100 MT freight loading and 840 crore passengers in the terminal year of 11th Plan.
  • Focus would be on doubling transport capacity and reducing unit cost of transportation by increasing volumes.
    • Short-term strategy- investing in low cost high return projects for eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring intensive asset utilization
    • Mid and long-term strategy – twin pronged approach of network expansion and modernization and technical upgradation
    • Public-private partnerships projects will play an important role.
  • Construction of Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Ccorridors at a cost of Rs 30,000 cr will commence from 2007-08 for completion during the 11th plan.
  • Pre-feasibility surveys for East-West, East-South, North-South and South-South Corridors
  • Most of the metre-gauge lines will be converted into broad-gauge by the end of this five-year plan.
  • High speed Passenger Corridors to be constructed to run trains at more than 300 km/hr speed.
  • Expansion of suburban services through completion of MUTP Phase-1 and initiating MUTP Phase-2 through joint funding
  • Efforts to provide air-conditioned suburban trains in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai and escalators at important stations
  • The production of rolling stock will be doubled compared with previous plan. Production of high-horse power and energy efficient locos to be increased.
  • Manifold increase in investment in IT to increase earnings, ensure effective utilization of human and physical resources and facilitate long-term policy decisions
  • Commercial portal to be developed over next 3 years for better yield management
  • Integrated time bound implementation of all FOIS modules by 2010.
  • ERP package for workshops, production units and select Zonal Railways

Railway Safety

  • Number of rail accidents has decreased despite substantial increase in volume of traffic
  • Majority of Special Railway Safety Fund works will be completed by March, 2007. Balance to be completed by March, 2008.
  • Testing of Anti-Collision Device in last stages
  • General Managers empowered to sanction subways costing up to Rs 50 lakhs on unmanned level crossings for reducing accidents.
  • Production of improved crashworthy coaches will be increased.

Railway Security

  • Number of trained dogs will be increased in the existing dog squads.
  • Door frame and hand held metal detectors to detect explosives being installed in many sensitive divisions and CCTV, smart video cameras etc for sensitive stations
  • 8,000 vacancies will be filled in the RPF on all India basis.
  • Jagjivan Ram Railway Suraksha Bal Academy (Lucknow) has been recognised as Centralized Training Institute.

Staff Welfare

  • Per-capita contribution to Staff Benefit Fund will be increased from Rs 30 to Rs 35 per year.
  • Condition of Railway Staff colonies to be improved
  • 50 room rest houses will be built near the Railway hospitals in the four metropolitan cities for stay of relatives of the patients.
  • An extensive training programme will be launched to inculcate market and customer oriented approach in frontline staff.
  • A committee has been constituted to improve promotion prospects of Group 'D' employees.
  • Previous service tenure of ex-servicemen and central government employees recruited by Railways, will be added to their existing service tenure in the Railways while calculating eligibility for post retirement complimentary passes

Organisational and Human Resource Development

  • Training of Railway employees and officers to be reoriented towards changing economic and competitive environment
  • Institutions of GMs, DRMs, CAOs (Construction) to be strengthened and empowered for development as business units, profit centres and project units respectively.
  • Railway Staff College, Vadodara will be renovated as heritage building
  • A Railway chair will be established at IIM/Ahmedabad for research in railway infrastructure and management

Special Recruitment Drives

  • 95% of the vacancies of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been filled through special drives and 75% of backlog in the promotional quota has been cleared.
  • Action is being taken to fulfill the stipulated 27% quota of the OBC candidates.

Passenger Services

  • 8 new Garib Raths to be introduced
  • New Trains : 32 pairs
  • Extension of Trains : 23 pairs
  • Increase in Frequency : 14 pairs

Annual Plan 2007-08

  • The Annual Plan of Rs 31,000 cr is the largest ever Annual Plan so far, which includes:

Ø Support of Rs 7,611 cr from General Revenues.

Ø Internal Generation of Rs 17,323 cr.

Ø Extra Budgetary Resources of Rs 5,740 cr.

  • The thrust of the annual plan is to maintain the high growth in traffic, by focusing on early completion of works for throughput enhancement on high traffic density routes, improvement of traffic facilities and enhancing sectional capacity.

v      High Density Network to be made suitable for running of Heavy Axle load trains

v      Enhanced line capacity planned for on busy routes by implementing IBS, Automatic Signaling etc.

v      Increase in speed of trains through fly-overs, bypass, yard redesign etc. at busy junction stations, will be built and will be modified

v      200 Diesel, 200 Electric engines and 11,000 wagons to be produced

  • Outlay on project related Plan heads : New Lines Rs 1,610 cr, Gauge conversion Rs 2,404 cr, Electrification Rs 300 cr, Metropolitan Transport Projects Rs 722 cr.
  • Outlay on Safety related Plan heads : Track renewal Rs 3,360 cr, Bridges Rs 597 cr, Signal & Telecommunication works Rs 1,597 cr, Road over/under bridges Rs 551 cr and manning of unmanned level crossings Rs 500 cr.
  • Important Targets : New Lines 500 kms, Gauge Conversion 1800 kms, Doubling 700 kms.
  • Rs 2,725 cr required for four National Projects

Other Important Announcements

  • New Electric Loco works to be set up at Madhepura.
  • Wagon Bogie Complex to be set up at Dalmia Nagar.
  • Shortfall of rolling stock bogies to be met by setting up of Joint venture company with Kerala Government at Alleppey.

Railways emerging International image

  • Railways to impart training to railway personnel of African countries
  • Chairman Railway Board elected as first chairman of Asian Railway Association and also as first non European President of International Railway Union (UIC )

Proposals relating to freight rates and passenger fares

Freight Business

  • No across the board increase in freight rates
  • Highest class 220 reduced to 210
  • Freight rates of diesel and petrol to come down by about 5 per cent
  • Minerals and Ores (iron-ore, lime-stone and dolomite) - reduction in classification from class 170 to 160
  • Wagon load class rates for commodities up to class LR1: reduced from class150 to class120

Schemes Announced/ Modified

  • Commodity based freight policy-exclusive package for cement traffic
  • Dynamic Wharfage and Demurrage rates - reduction in wharfage rates and relaxation in loading/unloading free time at select terminals.
  • Discounts up to 40% on incremental loading of bagged consignments in open wagons in empty flow direction.
  • Discount of 20 per cent during lean season and 15 per cent during peak season under Two Leg Freight Discount Scheme for covered wagons in up and down directions.
  • Distance between unloading points in Two Points Rake Scheme to be increased from 200 to 400 kms during lean season.
  • Facility for loading less than block rakes under Empty Flow Direction Scheme.
  • Empty Flow Discount extended to all commodities except coal, coke and iron ore.
  • Empty Flow Direction Freight Discount will be given at 30 per cent throughout the year for traffic lead of more than 700 kms.

Passenger Business

  • Reduction in passenger fares.
  • Fares of second class in non-suburban ordinary passenger and non-superfast mail/express trains reduced by one rupee per passenger
  • AC First Class : 3% reduction in busy season , 6% in lean season
  • AC-2Tier Class : 2% reduction in busy season, 4% in lean season
  • Reduction in fares for all classes of high capacity new design reserved coaches :
  • AC3-Tier & AC CC: 4% reduction in busy season and 8% in lean season
  • Sleeper Class: 4% reduction in all seasons
  • Above discounts for busy season shall be applicable in popular trains throughout the year.
  • Superfast charge on Second Class tickets reduced by 20 per cent (from Rs. 10 to Rs. 8).
  • Tourist ticket to be introduced in Mumbai Suburban Services with facility for unlimited travel.
  • Charges for e-tickets booked on the internet reduced.