Railway Budget 2016
While everyone is fighting over Smriti Irani’s dialogue delivery speech, not many have paid attention to the Railway Budget.
Amidst the whole Nationalism/Anti-Nationalism debate Suresh Prabhu managed to get away with presenting his Railway Budget.
Here is an attempt to present the Budget highlights while trying to avoid the numerous rhetoric involved.
– The Railways is expecting an Operating Ratio of 92%. Which is higher by 2% than the past year. To put it simply, this means that the Railways will be spending 92% of the revenue that it generates, into Operations.
– There will be a target of commissioning 2,500 kms of broad gauge lines which means higher connectivity of long route trains.
– One of the good news is that 17,000 bio toilets will be added at 475 stations by the end of this year. This will ensure that you guys can Poo in peace while waiting for your train and you wont have to do the “Lag gayi kaha jaun” dance on the platforms.
– They plan to increase the e-ticketing system from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute. Now you can book your tickets faster than the usual one and a half hour that it takes you on the IRCTC site.
– Wifi services will be introduced at 100 stations in this year. Instead of plaing Candy Crush offline, while waiting for your trains, you can now Whatsapp and bitch about how your train is not on time 😛
– They are planning to reserve middle bays in coaches for Women’s security. But how that is exactly going to help the Women’s security is not known, since men manage to get into any bays, whether in the middle or otherwise.
– Antyodaya Express, a long distance superfast train will be introduced for the common man. This definitely sounds like a good idea.
– Humsafar Express, fully air conditioned third service will be introduced in a bid to steal back the Air passengers.
– Journalists will be given concessional passes through E-Booking. Now they can go to Delhi and get beaten up at cheaper rates…. Yippeee 😉
– From now onwards no porter will be called a “Coolie”, they will be referred to as “Sahayak”. There is also a proposal that Govinda’s movie will be renamed and relauched as “Shayak No. 1”.
– Now you can cancel your tickets through 139 telephone line. But do check what the cancellation charges are 😉
– Specially able people will now get Battery operated cars and paid porter services. Thinking about this I can only keep my fingers crossed. This is a damn good move but I am not sure how this is going to work on our over crowded platforms and especially when people have to change platforms at the last moment.
– There will also be Radio heard in the Railways now over the PA. Now you can get to listen to your favourite programs like “Mann Ki Baat” and get that dreamy look on your face while travelling.
– Baby food, hot milk and warer will be made available on stations. Avail this at your own discretion. Your Baby, your risk.
– Senior citizens and women will have an increase in the seat quota this year. So one might expect more women and elderly people on the Trains, from now onwards. Also that means you will not have to throw your handkerchief through the window to book your seat 😛
– Passenger fares were not hiked in this Budget. But given the fact that the passenger fares were hiked around 20% in the last year AFTER the previous budget, there is no way of saying that they will remain the same throughout the year.
All in all, the budget comes across as a down-the-middle one with no major statements which would have created an uproar.
Suresh Prabhu, thankfully, has stayed away from controversies, coz we all know we have enough of them, in any case.
This hasnt stopped the Opposition from saying that the budget was high on rhetoric and low on content. And they have a point too.
But since the time Modi Sarkar has come into power, almost all their budgets have been more on “Vision” and little on actual implementation.
One can only hope that the Government is successful in implementing the Vision which they have been promising since the last two years.
Since, Suresh Prabhu did not lay bare any of the past years “Achievements versus Promises” as is usually done in any Corporate budget, it is hard to gauge the actual performance at the moment.
However, wishing Suresh Prabhu all the best for his next year and hoping that he manages to bring up the Railways, as he has promised.
Disclaimer: If anyone has any problems with the Railway budget he is free to Tweet Suresh Prabhu on his twitter handle. He may not reply you but he will surely Retweet your tweet 😛