Dimensions of Railway Budget: 2013-14


By

Dr. Surendra P Kothari
Faculty of Commerce
SS Jain Subodh Commerce and Arts College
Jaipur

Mrs. Smita Mohapatra
Policy Analyst
Dwarka, Delhi
 


Indian railway always is being considered as the life line of Indian economy as it connects east and west as well as north and south. It is the symbol of unity in diversity and is considered as the platform for national integration which is connecting different people belonging to different caste, religion, language, race, group and culture etc. Railway budget has always got the national priority because of its nature and its effects on the economy and hence presented as a separate entity. Railway is a Public Sector Undertaking, just not for profit making rather it is a means to achieve and cater various social and economic mandates and expectations of the country in a broader prospective. Just evaluation of railway budget on the basis of economic consequences tells us the only one side of the story but there is lot of other areas to be evaluated in the context of well being and welfare of the people.
The major thrust area which has been taken in the railway budget-2013-14 is based upon four important components:

a) Safety
b) Consolidation
c) Passengers amenities
d) Fiscal discipline

On the basis of above thrust area, we had put an endeavor to highlight the major and distinct aspect like security & passenger amenities in particular so as to address popular mandate of the present railway budget.

1) Safety and Securities:

As far as the safety and security is concerned, Indian railway has plan to eliminate 10797 level crossings during the twelfth five year plan so that accident at the place of level crossing should be minimized and can be avoided. Besides it, there should not be any new addition of level crossing to the existing one. This is ensured for better safety and security. Further it is plan to develop an indigenous train collision avoidance system after rigorous trial for effective implementation. Proposal has been made for the rehabilitation of 17 distressed bridges over the next one year as identified by the railways authority and also provision is made for detection of fire and smoke through comprehensive system. Indian railway has planned to use fire retardant furnishing material in the coaches to prevent the spreading of fire. As far as women security is concerned, there are four companies of women RPF personnel have been set up and another eight companies to be set up in near future to strengthen the safety & security of railway passengers in general and women in particular. To make it more gender neutral, 10% of vacancies in the recruitment of RPF should be reserved for the women. To provide assistance and help to the people suffered from rail accidents, the government has introduced 160/200 kmph self propelled accidents relief trains in the railway budget.

There is a plan to introduce train protection warning system on automatic signaling systems and fire extinguisher has to be kept in the guard vans. The government has taken up initiatives for the protection of elephant and other wild animals from accidents. In the past, it had been seen many animals especially elephants in the state of Jharkhand and Odisha were killed by the train accidents.

2) Amenities for Passengers:

Secondly, improvement in passenger amenities and provision of better service is very much essential for sustainability of railway. In the present rail budget, it is proposed to have provision of free Wi-Fi facilities on various trains for the convenient of passengers. There is also plan to upgrade 60 stations as Adarsh station in addition to 980 already selected stations. With respect to cleanliness of clothing and blankets, the railway minister have proposed to have 8-10 mechanized laundry for quality washing, and also further provision is made for announcement of facilities and display boards in the train for the quick , immediate and correct information for the passengers. To provide easy access to tickets, the railway budget has proposed to have E-ticketing through the mobile phones at the same time decided to send SMS alert to passengers about reservation status. For this purpose, government has proposed next generation E- ticketing system by the end of this year. The railway budget has plan to set up 179 escalators and 400 lifts at the A1 and other selected railway stations to facilitate better amenities at par the global standards.

This budget is not well planned or structured, looking at the need of the people and society and many more things could have been included to make it more acceptable or relevant.

© Remain with Second Author

References:

* Speech of Hon'ble Railway Minister
* Railway Budget- 2013-14
* Reports from Various News Channels
* Hindustan Times
* Financial Express
* Business Standards
* Economics Times
 


Dr. Surendra P Kothari
Faculty of Commerce
SS Jain Subodh Commerce and Arts College
Jaipur

Mrs. Smita Mohapatra
Policy Analyst
Dwarka, Delhi
 

Source: E-mail February 28, 2013

          

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