Railway Budget 2016: What can be expected from it
The Railway Budget 2016 is being presented today by the Central Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Mr Prabhu, who is known for being tech savvy and for his reformist attitude, now faces the challenge of striking a fine balance between restoring railways’ finances and managing popular expectations from the public.
Here’s taking a look at what can be expected from the Railway Budget 2016:
1. Revenue: A slump in passengers has resulted in only a 6% growth in revenue in 2015-2016; as opposed to a double digit pace in the past. So this year’s budget has to account for revenues.
2. Salary Hike: In order to implement the seventh pay commission’s recommendations, an extra Rs. 28,000 crore has to be allocated for salary hike for the 2.6 million employees.
3. Expansion: Having announced an ambitious plan involving spending Rs. 8.5 lakh crore over the next five years for modernisation; the railway minister now has to finalize a concrete plan for this.
4. Bullet Train: The Rs. 98,000 crore project in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route will be finalised in this budget.
5. Budget Allocation: Last year, the Finance minister had allocated a budget of Rs. 40,000 crore for Railways. Taking projects like the Bullet train into consideration; the budget now has to be accordingly allocated.
6. Premium/Special Trains: New trains with higher fares might be announced on popular routes this year; adding to the railways’ revenue and catering to the needs of passengers.
7. Hike in Fares: To generate revenue, a hike might be done but this again will result in a reduction of passengers as the AC fares face a stiff competition from airline fares.
8. Safety: Recently, an incident on a train took place where a tweet to Mr Suresh Prabhu saved the day. So this year, initiatives will be taken to ensure passengers’ security and also the allocation of safety devices to prevent accidents will be done.
9. Freight Fares: So far, the freight fares have been high but owing to the sharp decrease in fuel prices might mean a reduction in freight fares.
10. Make In India: In order to facilitate the Make In India campaign, new freight corridors might be announced.