Madam Speaker, as I proceed, my thought goes to a particularly severe cold spell during the recent winter, when it was snowing heavily in Kashmir valley, and suspension of road and air services had brought life to a grinding halt. Photographs in Newspapers showing a train covered with snow emerging from a similar white background, carrying passengers travelling over the recently commissioned Qazigund-Baramulla section instilled in me a sense of immense pride. I recall here the inspirational words of Christine Weatherly:
"When you travel on the railway, and the line goes up a hill, Just listen to the engine as it pulls you with a will. Though it goes very slowly It sings this little song "I think I can, I think I can," And so it goes along."
That is the strength of this organization, supported by determination, commitment and dedication to duty demonstrated by each member of the 14 lakh strong Rail Parivar.4.
Indian Railways is a vital organisation, playing an unparalleled role in integrating the nation. From Baramulla in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, Dwarka in the West to Ledo in the East, trains of Bhartiya Rail always on the move, carrying people and material, creating opportunities and fostering development is a single most important catalyst in the growth story of our great Nation. Madam, I have hardly completed four months with Railways but it is a great feeling indeed to find myself identifying with the stupendous task assigned by the people of India to the railways.
In these few months, I have been overwhelmed by demands for new projects, new trains, and varied suggestions for improving the services, reflecting aspirations of the people of India. While Railways undoubtedly contribute significantly to the growth, progress and development of the country and is a powerful vehicle for mainstreaming remotest corners of the nation, the growth of Railways itself is inextricably linked with the overall growth of the country.
Dilemmas & Concerns
I wish to share with this august House some of the concerns that Railways are faced with today.
IR must remain financially sustainable so that resources generated can be ploughed back for efficient upkeep, operation and maintenance of the system itself for the benefit of the rail users. Major segments of its business, freight as well as passenger need, therefore, to be based on sound economic principles and provide value for money to all customers. This august House is aware that growth of this crucial transport sector has not always conformed to these principles. Steep increase in input costs had to be met primarily through adjustment in freight rates. As a result, the ability of the railways to generate enough resources to meet its operational expenditure as well as investment in crucial planned activities such as enhancing safety, throughput capacity, users' amenities etc. suffered.
The number of passenger trains has increased from 8897 in 2001-02 to 12335 in 2011-12. Yet, the losses on these operations continue to mount, increasing from Rs 4,955 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 22,500 crore in 2011-12 and is estimated to be Rs 24,600 crore in 2012-13. This has also resulted in deterioration of services extended to our esteemed passengers.
Mounting scarcity of resources continues to stare us in the face. Thin spread of funds has only compounded the problem. In fact, I find that many of the projects which would help railways in debottlenecking and decongesting its over-saturated network are not getting funded in a time bound manner. During the XI Plan, Railways could meet the target of new lines and electrification but fell short of the targets for doubling and gauge conversion, achieving only 2758 km and 5321 km respectively. Considering the vastness of our country, and taking into account large areas still aspiring for rail connectivity, the targets need to be much higher and the rail network has to be expanded at a much faster rate than has been possible till now.
Planning Commission has tentatively pegged the Railways' 12th Plan at Rs 5.19 lakh crore with a Gross Budgetary Support of Rs 1.94 lakh crore, internal resources of Rs 1.05 lakh crore, and market borrowing of Rs 1.20 lakh crore, with another Rs 1 lakh crore expected to be raised through public private partnership route. The internal resource target, which is 1.6 times that of XI Plan, also appears a tall order as we could allocate only Rs 10,000 crore in the first year of the 12th Plan. The onerous task of raising the balance amount of Rs 95,000 crore in the next four years calls for a paradigm shift in our approach to tariff and non-tariff segments of earnings.
Safety & Security
The railway family is deeply grieved over the most unfortunate and tragic incident which occurred at Allahabad station during the ongoing holy Kumbh. I am particularly pained that such an incident happened despite the most meticulous planning and efforts put in by the railways to take care of the comforts, safety and other requirements of the pilgrims. While monetary support provided to the victims' families does not provide balm for the pain and misery caused, the incident has shaken us and we would strive to build in a higher level of contingency margin in our future planning.
Madam Speaker, rail passengers deserve safe and comfortable travel. Safety is a necessary mandate for running trains. With the untiring endeavour of the railway family to address human failure and technical deficiencies, there has been a significant reduction in the incidence of rail accidents. Even though the volume of passenger and freight traffic increased manifold, the number of consequential train accidents per million train kilometre has decreased from 0.41 in 2003-04 to 0.13 at the end of 2011-12. The target of bringing this figure to 0.17 by 2012-13, stipulated under the Corporate Safety Plan introduced since 2003 was surpassed in the year 2011-12 itself. We will strive to work towards a zero accident situation.
The Committees headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar and Sh. Sam Pitroda have laid down a roadmap for improving safety and bringing about modernisation of Railways. While some of the recommendations of the two Committees have been taken up for implementation, the rest are under active consideration of the Ministry.
A disquieting issue which weighs my mind down is accidents at level crossings. 40% of consequential accidents and 60% of fatalities are accounted for by level crossings. While railways regularly undertake awareness drives, a permanent solution lies only in eliminating the crossings. Railway Safety Fund set up to finance safety works at level crossings has been very useful, but is proving to be inadequate. Railways' annual share from the Central Road Fund is only Rs 1,100 crore against a requirement of almost Rs 5,000 crore. Meeting estimated requirement of nearly Rs 37,000 crore at present day cost for eliminating 31,846 LCs, out of which 13,530 are unmanned, would only be possible with enhanced support from the Central Road Fund.
Some of the measures taken/proposed to be taken to strengthen safe operation of trains are:-
i. elimination of 10,797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and not adding any new LC to the IR system henceforth;
ii. continued thrust on improved Signalling for not only ensuring much better safety for train operations but also enhancing the track capacity;
iii. introduction of Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) on automatic signalling systems;
iv. following successful completion of initial testing, the indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is proposed to be put to rigorous trials to validate the technology under complex operational conditions;
v. upgradation of track structure using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail-panels and improved flash butt welding technology;
vi. induction of Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains (SPART) with speed potential of 160/200 kmph on trial basis with a view to putting in place a fast and reliable disaster management system;
vii. progressive induction of crash-worthy LHB coaches having anti-climb feature;
viii. 17 bridges on IR which have been identified as distressed have been sanctioned for rehabilitation to be completed over next one year.
Madam, accidents caused due to fire, even though very infrequent, have been a major cause for concern. Some of the measures taken include:-
i. provision of Comprehensive Fire and Smoke Detection System on pilot basis;
ii. provision of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains;
iii. enhanced use of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches;
iv. social awareness campaigns for observance of safe practices.
With a view to provide long term perspective and focused attention for enhancing safety, I propose to initiate an exercise of making Corporate Safety Plan for a ten year period (2014-24).
The Railway family is deeply grieved by some incidents of death of elephants on railway tracks passing through forest areas. Several measures have been initiated in consultation with Ministry of Environment & Forests, which I am confident will substantially reduce such accidents and safeguard the lives of these gentle giants.
To strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially women passengers, Railways have already created four companies of women RPF personnel and another eight would be set up. Recruitment to RPF is being conducted with 10% vacancies reserved for women. The presence of women RPF personnel will be further strengthened with the field units.20.
Many trains are being escorted by Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force in sensitive sections. Further, the Ladies Special local trains in Metropolitan Cities are being escorted by lady RPF Staff. Security helpline numbers have been made available on several zonal railways to facilitate passengers in reporting any untoward incidence for immediate intervention.
The widespread disappointment of the travelling public with the state of cleanliness and hygiene at stations and trains, bedrolls and catering has often been highlighted in this august House. As a frequent rail-traveller, I have experienced this personally. Resource constraint cannot be a reason for sub-standard services and efforts need to be directed for providing reasonable quality of facilities to rail-users. I am committed to bring about a marked change in the level of passenger amenities. It is my firm belief that Railways' efforts towards introducing new trains, or extending the run or frequency of existing trains should not be at the cost of amenities for passengers and safety. Some of the measures taken/proposed to be taken for improving passengers' travel experience are as follows:-
i. Identification of 104 stations, serving a population of more than one million or those serving places of religious/tourist importance for immediate attention to all aspects related to cleanliness;
ii. progressive extension of bio-toilets on trains;
iii. provision of concrete aprons on platforms with mechanized cleaning facilities. 200 stations have already been covered;
iv. extension of On Board Housekeeping Scheme (OBHS) and Clean Trains Stations (CTSs) to more stations and trains;
v. extension of Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs) and scheme of Jan-Sadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBSs);
vi. setting up of six more Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad;
vii. launching of a pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on-board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for prompt response for coach cleanliness and also to provide real time feedback;
viii. setting up of 8-10 more mechanized laundries for quality washing of linen;
ix. provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains for disseminating information to on-board passengers about approaching stations, train running, arrival platform, etc.;
x. providing free Wi-Fi facility on several trains to cater to the increasing aspirations and requirement of our youth and other valued customers;
xi. upgrading another 60 stations as Adarsh Stations in addition to 980 already selected;
xii. associate voluntary organisations for providing first aid services etc. at railway stations.
I recognize need for special attention to stations in National Capital Region. Development of directional terminals began some years back with opening of Anand Vihar station. Studies for terminal at Bijwasan will be taken up during the year. Further, to augment infrastructure and revamp the facilities at Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin, works costing Rs 100 crore have been taken up.
With increasing popularity of Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, there is also a demand for higher travel comfort. Responding to this need, to begin with, IR will introduce one such coach in select trains which will provide an excellent ambience and latest modern facilities and services. Such coaches will be named 'Anubhuti' with commensurate fare structure.
Amenities for Differently-abled Passengers
Madam Speaker, India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the rights of the disabled. We are conscious of our responsibility under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To facilitate the boarding of trains and exit from the stations for the differently-abled and the elderly, the steps proposed include provision of 179 escalators and 400 lifts at A-1 and other major stations, affixing Braille stickers indicating the layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly.
In order to provide an employment avenue to the disabled people, I propose to reserve a specified number of JTBS for them, keeping in view the fact that the PCOs at stations have become largely redundant after the mobile revolution in India.
IT Initiatives for passenger benefits
To harness technology in myriad forms for bringing about improvement in the lives of our people was the visionary plan of Sh.Rajiv Gandhi. He was the trailblazer of the IT revolution in the country. It has helped IR and crores of passengers in many ways. Today, I look forward expectantly to the use of Aadhar scheme by IR. The database generated, can be extensively and efficiently used by railways not only to render more user friendly services such as booking of tickets, validation of genuine passengers with GPS enabled handheld gadgets in trains, but also to provide a better interface with its employees in regard to their salaries, pension, allowances etc. I have had some discussion on potential applications of Aadhar with Shri Nandan Nilekani. I plan to roll out a more efficient and people sensitive Railway Services system. Some of the measures initiated or afoot are:-
i. extending availability of the facility of internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours;
ii. making e-ticketing possible through mobile phones;
iii. as a follow up to overwhelming response to IR website and Integrated Train Enquiry Service under "139", a project of SMS Alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status is being rolled out shortly;
iv. covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System (RTIS), whereby rail-users will be able to access information through nominated websites and mobile phones.
I often get to hear that congestion at the IRCTC website causes inordinate delay in accessing the system for e-ticketing. By the end of this calendar year, we will put in place a Next Generation e-ticketing system which will bring about a paradigm shift in internet rail ticketing by significantly improving the end user experience in respect of ease of use, response time as well as capacity. The system shall be able to support 7200 tickets per minute as against 2000 tickets per minute today. It will support 1,20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time against the present capacity of 40,000 users with capability to easily scale up as demand increases in future. The system will make use of advanced fraud control and security management tools thereby further improving fairness and transparency in disbursal of tickets.
Some measures taken to curb malpractices in reserved tickets including Tatkal are:-
i. mandatory carrying of ID cards by passengers with reserved tickets;
ii. rigorous drive leading to prosecution of more than 1800 touts in the current year;
iii. in case of tatkal, reduction of advance reservation period to one day, issue of tickets only on production of ID proof at PRS counters, issue of only one tatkal ticket per train per day to web service agents;
iv. denial of access to agents to internet booking between 0800 to 1000hrs.
Madam Speaker, I believe rail travel must be inextricably linked with good quality, hygienic and affordable food, catering to all classes of passengers. For effective quality control, arrangements are being tied up with food testing laboratories in addition to third party audit. State-of-the-art base kitchens are proposed to be set up in railway premises for better monitoring of quality of meals. ISO certification will now be insisted upon for all base-kitchens.
A Centralised Catering Services Monitoring Cell with a Toll free number - 1800 111 321 has started functioning w.e.f. 18th January, 2013to facilitate redressal of complaints/suggestions on real-time basis.
Railways form a popular mode of travel, both for domestic and foreign tourists. To make the experience of tourists more pleasant, the following steps are envisaged:-
i. following popularity of Executive Lounge at New Delhi, setting up of such facility at seven more stations namely, Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru;
ii. launching a multi-modal travel package with cooperation of State Government of Jammu & Kashmir enabling passengers to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar and Baramulla on a common rail-bus ticket;
iii. with the commissioning of railway line up to Katra very soon, feasibility of issuing 'yatra parchis' to pilgrims travelling by rail at the time of booking of the railway ticket is being explored in coordination with Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.
The role of Indian Railways in unification of the country during the freedom struggle is historical. I propose to run an educational tourist train called 'Azadi Express' to enable our youth to travel to important places connected with the freedom movement. The train will be made attractive and affordable through concessional fares.
Freight traffic has been the mainstay of internal resource generation on the Indian Railways. I am happy to inform this august House that this year the Indian Railways is set to achieve the milestone of entering the one Billion Tonne Select Club, joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways. This year the originating freight loading is estimated to be 1007 MT, about 38 MT over 2011-12.
The initiatives taken to become a major heavy-haul carrier include running of long-haul trains which has enabled us to join another select club of Railways, which run freight trains of more than 10,000 tonnes load. As a part of this initiative, 49 long loops, that could hold 1.5 km long trains, have been sanctioned this year, besides large scale induction of Distributed Power Systems to mitigate capacity constraints and improve wagon utilisation.
Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC)
Land acquisition for nearly 2,800 km of the eastern and western freight corridors is almost complete. The first major civil construction contract on the 343 km Kanpur-Khurja section of the eastern corridor has already been awarded and by the end of 2013-14, construction contract to cover up to 1,500 km on the two corridors would be awarded and the work started. Preliminary Engineering-cum-Traffic Studies (PETS) have been taken up on four future Dedicated Freight Corridors.
Projects of national importance
Madam Speaker, security of the nation is paramount, and our brave soldiers make immense sacrifices to safeguard our frontiers. Providing need based rail connectivity to border areas is uppermost on Railways' agenda. The national project of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla and other projects of strategic importance will be taken up on top priority. For the first time the State of Arunachal has been brought into the rail network and we shall commission the Harmuti-Naharlagunline this year. Also I am happy to inform that works on the new line railway project to connect state of Manipur are in full swing. We are also fast tracking the gauge conversion works on Lumding-Silchar and Rangia-Murkongselek. I am fully conscious of the difficult task of the Finance Minister but hope that he will find ways to provide necessary funds for important rail connectivity projects.
In view of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committees and demands from various Border States, I will pursue for approval of certain projects identified as being of national importance viz. Bilaspur-Manali-Leh, Jammu-Poonch via Aknoor, Tanakpur-Bageshwar and Parsuramkund-Rupai. I also propose to take up a new line between Firozpur and Patti for providing direct rail link between border areas of Firozpur and Amritsar/Atari.
Public Private Partnerships
An ambitious target of Rs one lakh crore has been set to attract investments through PPP route during the 12th Plan. This is a challenging area for IR considering the capital intensive, long gestation nature of rail infrastructure projects and limited success achieved so far. Elevated Rail Corridor in Mumbai, parts of the DFC, redevelopment of stations, power generation/energy saving projects, freight terminals are areas proposed for private investment during the 12th Plan period. Cooperation of state governments is also being sought to provide momentum to these initiatives.
A target of Rs 1,000 crore each is proposed to be fixed for Rail Land Development Authority and IR Station Development Corporation in 2013-14.
The recently revamped participative policy enabling partnership with ports, large mines, industry and investors addresses the specific concerns of private investors. The models seek to create a win-win situation by ensuring payback of investment mainly through freight apportionment. An investment of up to Rs 9,000 crore is expected under these projects including Rs 3,800 crore for port connectivity projects, Rs 4,000 crore for coal mine connectivity and Rs 800 crore for iron ore mines connectivity improvements.
FOBs Across Stations
Some of the Hon'ble Members have requested for construction of foot-over bridges across stations. While this does not form part of the existing scheme of things, I assure the august House that Railways would be happy to become partners in such projects with the state governments. Accordingly, a scheme for funding construction of Fobs across stations is being firmed up
To meet the increasing demand, reduce dependence on imports and to generate employment opportunities, following new manufacturing/maintenance facilities are proposed to be set up:-
i. a new Forged Wheel Factory at Rae Bareli for which an MoU has been signed with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL);
ii. a Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara, Rajasthan in collaboration with state government and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL);
iii. a coach manufacturing unit in Sonepat district, Haryana in collaboration with the state government;
iv. midlife rehabilitation (MLR) Workshop at Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with the state government;
v. conversion of Bikaner and Pratapgarh workshops to undertake POH of BG wagons;
vi. a workshop for repair and rehabilitation of motorised bogies at Misrod, Madhya Pradesh;
vii. a new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi district,Odisha;
viii. a modern signalling equipment facility at Chandigarh through PPP route.
As regards setting up of new coach factories at Palakkad and Kolar, and a wagon factory in Ganjam district of Odisha, we are in consultation with respective state governments. I am hopeful of early commencement of work.
Railways' PSUs & Production Units
Madam, I take pride in informing the House that all the 11 Public Sector Undertakings of the Railways performed very well and paid highest ever dividend. They were successful in securing several important contracts in other countries for constructions/rehabilitation of railway lines and supply of rolling stock, a testimony of their professional strength. The dividend paid in 2011-12 was 14.3% higher than in the previous fiscal.
Madam, Railways' Production Units have contributed immensely to the growth of the organization by ensuring regular supply of rolling stock using improved technology. All of them achieved the production targets in 2011-12.
Railways have been annually disposing of scrap which not only generates revenue but also helps in de-cluttering the work space. I intend to institute a special drive during the year to take up disposal of scrap lying in stores depots, workshops, along the tracks and at construction sites. A target of Rs 4,500 crore has been set for 2013-14.
Green Energy Initiatives
Railways remain firmly committed to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development and use of energy efficient technologies. Some of the new steps that have been taken or are proposed to be taken include:-
i. setting up of Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) to harness potential of solar and wind energy;
ii. setting up of 75 MW windmill plants and energizing 1000 level crossings with solar power;
iii. deployment of new generation energy efficient electric locomotives and electrical multiple units (EMUs) saving about 60 crore units in 2011-12. Railways has also won the National Energy Conservation Award;
iv. encourage more usage of agro-based and recycled paper and ban use of plastic in catering.
The tradition of healthy and harmonious industrial relation across length and breadth of Indian Railways was ensured during the year by active participation of labour unions and officers' associations indecision making process at all levels of the management. This strong tradition continues to nurture the vast organization and help in discharging its national duty.
Madam, our 14 lakh employees constitute our most valuable asset. I feel extremely humbled as head of this mammoth organization which has given so much to the nation and touches the life of each one of us. Some of the measures I propose to take for their welfare are:--
i. concerted efforts to fill up approximately 1.52 lakh vacancies this year. It is a measure of popularity of railways as an employer that a staggering 2.2 crore applications were received. For the first time, Railway recruitment examinations were held at more than 60 cities across the country. In the process, a backlog of about 47,000 vacancies earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged is likely to get cleared.
ii. construction of staff quarters has been hampered by funding constraints. Encouraged by the success of Ministry of Urban Development in constructing quarters through PPP mode, I propose to adopt the same in the railways. Yet, I have enhanced the fund allocation under staff quarters by 50% over previous year to provide Rs 300 crore;
iii. provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all Divisional headquarters;
iv. extending the treatment facility in case of medical emergency to RELHS beneficiaries to all cities where hospitals are empanelled either with CGHS or with Railways;
v. condition of barracks would be improved to provide better living conditions to personnel of RPF;
vi. Considering the stress faced by loco-pilots particularly in harsh climatic conditions, it is proposed to provide water closets and air condition the locomotive cabs.
With a view to contributing to the national skill development programme of the Government, Ministry of Railways would impart skills to the youth in railway related trades in 25 locations spread across the length and breadth of the country. These locations are: Agartala, Alwar, Ankleshwar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Dimapur, Imphal, Jagdalpur, Jais, Katihar, Kazipet, Kollam, Koraput, Lumding, Mangalore, Murshidabad, Nagpur, Naharlagun, Pathankot, Ranchi, Ratlam, Shimla, Sirsa, Srinagar and Tiruchchirappalli.
I propose to set up a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for imparting training in rail related electronics technologies.
Madam Speaker, Kautilya counselled, "All undertakings dependupon finance. Hence foremost attention shall be paid to the treasury". The officers of Indian Railways responsible for professional management of finances and accounts have to be endowed with structured and professional training in contemporary areas and equipped with necessary skills on a regular basis. This will enable them to face emerging challenges and tap opportunities for strengthening the finances of the organization. With this in view, I am happy to announce the setting up of an exclusive Centralized Training Institute at Secunderabad - Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM).
Railways is a fascinating organization. In order to motivate students to study and undertake research on IR related issues at M.Phil & Ph.D levels, I propose to institute 5 fellowships in national universities. The fellowship will carry an appropriate stipend. I also propose to set up a Chair at TERI to promote railway related research to reduce our carbon footprint
Madam, Railways continued to excel in sports. In the London Summer Olympics in 2012, Sushil Kumar won second consecutive medal in Olympics. In the current year, Railways teams have already won 9National Championships and the Railway Sports Promotion Board has rightfully been awarded the 'Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar - 2012'.
It has been decided that recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Dhyan Chand Award shall be provided facility of Complimentary Card passes valid for travel by 1st Class/2nd AC. Also, Complimentary Card passes being issued to Olympic Medalists & Dronacharya Awardees shall be valid for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains, as in the case of Arjuna Awardees. Travel by Duronto trains shall also be permitted on all Card passes issued to sportspersons who have the facility of travel by Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains.
Saluting the Brave
Our brave and valiant soldiers make immense sacrifices to defend our borders. As a humble token of IR's gratitude, I have decided to extend the facility of Complimentary Card Pass valid in 1st Class/2AC to the parents of posthumous unmarried awardees of Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, President's Police Medal for Gallantry and Police Medal for Gallantry.
I also wish to announce that police gallantry awardees shall now be granted one Complimentary Pass every year for travel along with one companion in 2 AC in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains.
Presently freedom fighters are required to renew their passes every year. This causes inconvenience to many of them in an advanced age. I have, therefore, decided to raise this requirement of renewal to three years.
Mountain Railways of India are the World Heritage Sites placing India in an exclusive club of nations that include only Switzerland and Austria. We are truly proud of this and are committed to take measures to preserve them in good shape and health.
National Rail Museum, New Delhi is a premier institution holding a large number of priceless rail exhibits. It showcases Indian Railways' history and its evolution. The Museum has come to acquire a prominent place on the Delhi tourist map. To provide a memorable experience to the visitors especially the children, a revamp plan will be rolled out in 2013-14.
Enforcing Strict Financial Discipline
Madam Speaker, apt is the saying, "Money saved is money earned". Austerity and economy in expenditure will be observed by the Railways rigorously and no wastages will be permitted. I would like to inform the august House of some measures taken or proposed to be taken for enforcing strict financial discipline:-
i. Taking note of the fact that progress on works approved in successive Railway Budgets and through Supplementary Demands for Grants in the last few years had been slow, primarily on account of resource constraints, it was recognized that this defeats the very purpose of taking vote on out-of-turn basis rather than in the regular budget. Consequently, for the first time in the last 25 years, railways did not present any supplementary demands for grants either in Monsoon Session or Winter Session of Parliament in 2012.
ii. The Railways were compelled to seek a special loan of Rs 3,000crore from the Ministry of Finance during 2011-12. I am happy to report that the entire loan amount along with interest has been repaid in the current financial year.
iii. For the first time, 347 ongoing projects have been identified as priority projects, and provided committed funding. We intend to ensure funding of these projects at required level during the 12th Plan so as to complete them in a time bound manner. It is important that railways start reaping benefits on their investments at the earliest. The thin spread of scarce resources can be overcome only in this manner. I trust that the House will appreciate this compulsion and support our proposal.
iv. For practical and realistic targets, it would require a judicious mix of strategies, including liberal funding of last mile projects and operationally important projects including the Dedicated Freight Corridors.
v. To create a corpus for meeting IR's committed liabilities for debt servicing of JICA and World Bank loans taken for the DFC Project, it is proposed to set up a new Debt Service Fund.
vi. Targets for eliminating inefficiencies in the maintenance of rolling stock and fuel consumption are being made more stringent.
I can assure the august House that the measures taken will help the railways to close the current fiscal with positive fund balances as against deficit closure during the last two successive years. However, the road ahead is long with many a winding turn. The fund balances need to be rebuilt to a reasonable level of at least Rs. 30,000 crore by the end of 12th Plan after meeting the internal resource target of Rs 1.05 lakh crore for plan expenditure.
Review of Financial Performance, 2012-13
Railways' freight performance is based on a derived demand. There has been a slower growth in freight loading than expected at the beginning of the year and accordingly Railways had no option but to scale down the budget target of 1025 MT to 1007 MT, though it still reflects an increase of 38 MT over 2011-12. The freight earnings target has also been adjusted to Rs 85,976 cr from the BE of Rs 89,339 cr, a reduction of Rs 3,383 cr. Considering the partial rollback of passenger fare increase, mitigated somewhat by the subsequent fare adjustment in January 2013, the revised passenger earnings target is proposed at Rs 32,500 cr, i.e. a reduction of Rs 3,573 cr over BE, 2012-13.
I am keeping the Gross Traffic Receipts at Rs 1,25,680 cr in the Revised Estimates as against the BE of Rs 1,32,552 cr.
Despite increase in costs and revision of energy charges, the provision under Ordinary Working Expenses has been retained at BG level of Rs 84,400 cr in RE. With increase in appropriation to Pension Fund from Rs 18,500 cr to Rs 20,000 cr, necessitated by increase in pension benefits and number of pensioners, the net revenue is estimated to reduce by Rs 6,484 cr. The plan investment during the year has also been adjusted from Rs 60,100 cr to Rs 52,265 cr.
I am happy to report to the august House that as a result of our consistent efforts at maintaining strict financial discipline during the year, the Operating Ratio is estimated at 88.8%. This is a source of great satisfaction as the operating ratio has consistently been over 90% since 1997-98. The only exception was during the three years from 2005-06 to2007-08, the period immediately preceding implementation of VI Pay Commission recommendations.
I take this opportunity to thank the Railway Convention Committee for lowering the rate of dividend from 5% to 4% thus providing a relief of about Rs 715 cr. I also thank the hon'ble Finance Minister for his understanding and consideration but I do believe that one day Railways shall find ways to contribute to its infrastructural projects.
A bird sitting on a tree has no fear of falling, not because of the strength of the branch but because of faith in its own wings.
Budget Estimates 2013-14
Madam, I shall now deal with the Budget Estimates for 2013-14.
With the current estimates of growth of national GDP, I have kept a target of 1047 MT of revenue earning originating traffic during 2013-14, which is about 40 MT more than the current year. The freight earnings target has accordingly been set at Rs 93,554 crore, a growth of 9%. The number of passengers is expected to increase by 5.2% and the earnings target has been kept at Rs 42,210 cr.
Factoring in the impact of expected growth of 11% and 10% in Other Coaching and Sundry earnings respectively, the Gross Traffic Receipts are expected to be Rs 1,43,742 cr, an increase of Rs 18,062 crore the Revised Estimates of 2012-13. Ordinary Working Expenses have been fixed at Rs 96,500 cr i.e. 14% higher than the current year and appropriation to the Pension Fund at Rs 22,000 cr. Based on the likely requirement of plan resources for renewals and replacement of railways' assets, the appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund has been kept at Rs 7,500 cr.
The 'Excess' left after payment of Dividend calculated at 4% would be appropriated to Development Fund (Rs 3,550 cr), Capital Fund (Rs5,434 cr) and newly created Debt Service Fund (Rs 4,163 cr). The Operating Ratio is expected to improve to 87.8% from the Revised Estimate of 88.8%. Consequently, we will close the year 2013-14 with a balance of Rs 12,506 cr in the Railway Funds.
Annual Plan 2013-14
Madam Speaker, the Annual Plan, 2013-14 has to be integrated with the broad objectives and targets set for the 12th Plan. Yet, we must be realistic in setting targets in the Annual Plan 2013-14, even if it means that Railways would be faced with a stiffer challenge of enhancing investment during the remaining three years of the 12th Plan. A plan investment of Rs 63,363 crore is proposed for 2013-14. The Plan is proposed to be financed through GBS of Rs 26,000 cr, Railway's Share in Road Safety Fund of Rs 2,000 cr, internal resources of Rs 14,260 cr,market borrowings of Rs 15,103 cr and an expected mobilization of Rs 6,000 cr through the PPP route. The thrust of the plan is on doubling of tracks, safety and passenger and staff welfare for which I have increased the outlay from about Rs 11,410 cr in 2012-13 to Rs 13,220 cr, an increase of 16%.
I would also like to thank the Minister for Rural Development for agreeing to the request of railways to partner in some of the railway related activities under MGNREGA.
Madam Speaker, looking to the key role played by the Railways in meeting transportation needs of the people, any rise in passenger fares is not and should not be viewed as a measure for profit generation. If the fares remain at a level far below the cost of operations, the railways are bound to find it hard to provide safe, clean and comfortable journey to the travelling public. A modest annual increase of 5 to 6% in the fares over a period of say ten years can provide about Rs one lakh crore by way of additional resources, which can substantially finance internal generation component of throw-forward of about Rs 75,000 crore and give additional benefits to the travelling public by way of improvement in services.
It is only a financially strong organization that can deliver better services and discharge its social responsibility effectively. The UPA Government is sensitive to the needs of the people and it was after wide consultation and deliberations, that some revision was effected in fares from 22nd
January, 2013. The revision is expected to realise additional Rs 6,600 cr in 2013-14.
Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC)
However, subsequent increase in the rates of HSD oil in January2013 itself has added Rs. 3,300 crore to the fuel bill of Railways, taking away a substantial portion of the additional resources targeted. Besides, electricity tariffs are also revised periodically. The increase in fuel bill during 2013-14 on account of these revisions in 2012-13 alone would be more than Rs 5,100 crore. In the light of deregulation of the HSD oil, Railways' finances need to be rationally insulated and to this end a mechanism to neutralize the impact of fuel prices on operating expenses is required to be put in place. In the Budget 2012-13, my learned predecessor had proposed to segregate fuel component in tariffs as FAC.As then suggested, I propose that this component be dynamic in nature and change in either direction with the change in fuel cost, say twice a year. It is proposed to implement the FAC-linked revision in only freight tariff from 1st April, 2013. As regards passenger fares, since these were revised only in January this year, I do not intend to pass on the additional burden to them now and railways will absorb the impact of Rs 850 cr on this account.
There are a number of charges which have not been revised for last several years. These charges are in the form of compensation for cost actually incurred by railways in rendering relevant services. I propose to effect marginal increase in some of these. These include supplementary charge for superfast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge. However, I propose to abolish the concept of enhanced reservation fee with a view to simplify the fee structure, having already discontinued development charge in January this year.
Rail Tariff Authority
Madam, my predecessor had mentioned the need for setting up of an independent Rail Tariff Authority while presenting the budget for2012-13. A proposal in this regard has been formulated and is at inter-ministerial consultation stage.
In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Railways completed 709 km and 727 km respectively of new lines. However, during 2012-13, emphasis was laid on capacity enhancement works like doubling, traffic facilities etc. The target of 700 km of new lines in the current year had to be scaled down to 470 km due to inadequate resources. The sections which have either been completed or are planned to be completed during 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 1.
The target of 800 km for gauge conversion fixed for 2012-13 has also been scaled down to 575 km. The sections which have either been completed or are slated to be completed during 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 2.
I am happy to report that that the target of 700 km of doubling will be marginally exceeded during 2012-13. Sections which have either been completed or are scheduled for completion during 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 3.
Railways will complete electrification of 1200 route km. The sections which have been completed or are likely to be completed in 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 4.
Metropolitan Transport Project
Construction of metro system in Kolkata from Dum Dum to Noapara is scheduled to be completed by March, 2013. Works on the MUTP Phase II, announced in the last budget, are also progressing satisfactorily. I am happy to inform the august House that the first AC EMU rake will be introduced on Mumbai suburban network in 2013-14.
The construction of East-West Corridor in Kolkata which is underway, will be taken forward.
In order to meet the growing demand, 72 additional services in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata are being introduced. Besides, rake length is being increased from 9 cars to 12 cars for 80 services in Kolkata and 30 services in Chennai.
Targets for 2013-14
A target to complete 500 km of new lines has been set for 2013-14. A list of sections proposed to be completed during the year is given in Annexure 5.
It is targeted to convert 450 km of MG/NG lines to broad gauge during 2013-14. The sections are given in Annexure 6.
The target for Doubling has been increased to 750 km for 2013-14. The sections proposed to be completed in 2013-14 are given in Annexure7.
I also wish to announce resumption of work on new line projects of Chickmagalur - Sakleshpur and Bengaluru - Satyamangalam, which were pending for want of resources and other mandatory clearances, after State Government of Karnataka agreed to give land free of cost and bear 50% of the cost.
As we have seen, trains to various religious destinations are always overcrowded. To facilitate pilgrims' journeys, I have decided to add more trains to these places. Amongst the five Sikh Takhts, it is only Takht Shri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo which is not connected by a rail link. I, therefore, propose to take up construction of railway line from Rama Mandi to Maur Mandi via Talwandi Sabo to provide this link.
I propose to take up following new projects in 2013-14:
1.Bhupdeopur-Raigarh (Mand Colliery) (through PPP);
2.Gevra Road-Pendra Road (through PPP);
3. Jaisalmer (Thiyat Hamira)-Sanu;
5.Rewari-Rohtak new line extension up to Makrauli;
6.Sultanpur to Kadipur;
Gauge conversion of Mavli-Bari Sadri section.
2.Chennai Central-Basin Bridge Junction (5th & 6th lines);
7. Jarangdih- Danea;
8.Palanpur- Samakhiali (through PPP);
9.Rae Bareli - Amethi;
10.Vatva-Ahmedabad (3rd line).
1. Delhi Sarai Rohilla - Rewari - Palanpur - Ahmedabad including Kalol-Gandhinagar-Khodiyar and Alwar-Bandikui- Jaipur-Phulera
4. Rajpura-Dhuri-Lehra Mohabhat
5. Singapur Road-Damanjodi
I have been receiving representations from Hon'ble Members, State Governments and other public representatives in large numbers for construction of new lines, gauge conversion, doubling, and electrification and also for surveys. I have been pondering over them for the last one month. They are all genuine and reflect the growing need and demand of the most preferred mode of transport of the people in the country. I would sincerely wish to take up all those projects but am severely constrained for the reasons submitted earlier. Given this conspectus, despite the resource crunch, I propose to take up 22 projects of new lines and one gauge conversion project on socio-economic consideration and one doubling project after obtaining necessary approvals/clearances. These are:
2.Anandnagar-Ghugli via Maharajganj
5.Chickballapur-Puttapurthy-Sri Satya Sai Nilayam
9.Dimapur - Tizit
10.Faizabad-Lalganj via Akbarganj, Maharajganj and Rae Bareli
13.Hissar-Sirsa via Agroha & Fatehabad
14.Kapilvastu-Basti via Bansi
21.Sriperambudur-Guduvanchery with spur to Irun, Kattukotti-Avadi.
22.Yamuna Nagar-Chandigarh via Sadhaura, Narayangarh
24. New Bongaigaon to Kamakhya via Rangia
To meet the persistent demand of the people of Uttarakhand for a direct connectivity between Rishikesh and Doiwala, as also to avoid an alignment passing through a reserve forest with large elephant population, I propose to meet this requirement through provision of a bye pass line at Raiwala which will establish this direct link.
I propose to undertake following surveys during 2013-14:
3.Amb-Kangra via Nadaun
5.Anantnag and Pahalgam via Tral
7.Azamgarh - Mubarakpur
8.Baddi and Bilaspur
9.Balaghat - Bharveli-Ukwa
12.Dadri-Jharli via Jhajjar
16.Dhuri-Bye pass to avoid reversal of traffic
18.Farrukhabad- Gola - Gokarnnath via Shahjahanpur (Updating)
19.Gajsinghpur-Sadulpur via Padampur, Goluwala, Rawatsar, Taranagar, Dadrewa
20.Haldaur-Dhampur via Nathore
22. Jaisingh Nagar - Shahdol
23. Jashipur - Jajpur Road
24. Jilahi and Tikri Bye pass line
30.Lunkaransar - Sardarsahar
32.Mancherail - Adilabad via Utnoor
36.Nirakarpur and Tapanga new bye-pass line
38.Pandharpur - Vijapur via Mangalwedha
41.Pipar Road - Bhopalgarh -Asop - Shankwas- Mundawa Nagore
43.Rajpura-Bye pass to avoid reversal
44.Dudhwa -Chandan Chouki abandoned rail line restoration
45.Sairang-Hbichhuah as extension to Bhairabi-Sairang
50.Sri Anandpur Sahib-Chamkaur Sahib-Ludhiana
52.Surjagarh-Bijapur via Bhopalpattnam
53.Suwasra-Mandsour via Sitamau
55.Tirunelveli-Sankarankoilvia Pettai, Pudur, SendamaramVeerasigmamani
58.Vasai Road- Bye pass line between Naigoan and Diva (Juchandra)
4.Mailani - Bahraich
8.Kalyan- Karjat 3rd line
17.Rajpura- Bathinda via Dhuri
21.Shoranur-Mangalore 3rd line
23.Tirupati - Katpadi
I also propose to carryout traffic survey for Patiala-Jakhal new line and a traffic survey for Kanpur area in connection with Panki-Mandhana new line project.
....contd. FIND MORE CONTENT OF RAILWAY MINISTER'S SPEECH HERE
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