Railway Budget 2014: Attempts To Make It Hi-tech | SupportBiz

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Railway Budget 2014: Attempts To Make It Hi-tech

Presenting the first Railway Budget Modi government’s Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda promised to introduce important measures in improving passenger amenities. While looking to connect the important cities, the minister also made it clear that the Indian Railways wanted to be the biggest freight carriers in the world.

1.      The Railway Minister proposed introduction of bullet trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. He also proposed setting up of Diamond Quadrilateral Network of high-speed trains connecting major metros and growth centers.

2.      Railways plans to increase speed of trains to 160-200 km per hour in nine select sectors: Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Goa-Mumbai, Chennai-Hyderabad, Delhi-Kanpur, Delhi-Pathankot, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, and Nagpur-Secundrabad.

3.      To mobilise resources for infrastructure upgradation and high-speed trains, the minister said it would seek Cabinet approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) in building rail infrastructure. He however said FDI would not be allowed in railway operations.

4.      To improve passenger convenience, the Railways will provide Wi-Fi services in A1 and A category stations and in select trains. Besides that platform and unreserved tickets can also be bought through internet.

5.      Railway e-ticketing services will be improved to support 7,200 tickets per minute and allow 1.2 lakh simultaneous users.

6.      To improve cleanliness measures, the minister provided a 40 per cent higher allocation and proposed outsourcing of cleanliness services at 50 major stations. He also said onboard housekeeping would be extended to more trains and CCTVs would be utilized to monitor stations' cleanliness.

7.      The Railways will introduce pre-cooked and "ready-to-eat meals of reputed brands" on trains across the country. In addition to providing filtered (RO) drinking water on trains and at stations, the minister vowed strict action, including the cancellation of contracts, for any vendors who are found supplying unhygienic food to passengers.

8.      To improve transparency, Mr Gowda said e-procurement would be made compulsory for procurements over Rs. 25 lakh. He also said the status of all ongoing projects would be made online.

9.      Railways will set up logistic parks and private freight terminals on public-private partnership (PPP) model. Connectivity to ports would be improved through PPP, procurement of parcel vans and rakes by private parties.

10.  Dedicated freight corridor projects: For eastern (Ludhiana, Punjab, to Dankuni, West Bengal) and western (Mumbai-Delhi) dedicated freight corridor projects, the Railways will target awarding of construction contracts for nearly 1,000 km this year.