1. Railway Budget 2017: Big cheer for common man! Service charge on ticket booking via IRCTC removed

Railway Budget 2017: Big cheer for common man! Service charge on ticket booking via IRCTC removed

Railway Budget 2017: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley brought a big cheer to railway passengers, when he announced that the service charge on booking of tickets through IRCTC will be removed.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: February 1, 2017 3:51 PM
In the first combined Union Budget-Railway Budget, FM Jaitley said that Indian Railways will undertake transformative steps to better compete with other modes of transport. (Video grab) In the first combined Union Budget-Railway Budget, FM Jaitley said that Indian Railways will undertake transformative steps to better compete with other modes of transport. (Video grab)

Railway Budget 2017: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley brought a big cheer to railway passengers, when he announced that the service charge on booking of tickets through IRCTC will be removed. In the first combined Union Budget-Railway Budget, FM Jaitley said that Indian Railways will undertake transformative steps to better compete with other modes of transport. FM Jaitley allocated Rs 55,000 crore to Indian Railways from the government end. He said that that total capital and development plan for Railways has been pegged at Rs 1.31 lakh crore.

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“Unmanned railway level crossings to be eliminated by 2020. Railway line of 3,500 km will be commissioned in 2017-18 as against 2,800 km in 2016-17. Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for railway safety fund over five years,” FM Jaitley said.

Going ahead with the government’s reform agenda, FM Jaitley discarded the 92-year-long tradition of presentation of a separate Rail Budget and instead make it part of the General Budget earmarking a few paragraphs on the public transporter’s finance, projects and the road map for the next fiscal.

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With railways plagued by repeated derailments, government has proposed setting up of a special safety fund of Rs 1 lakh crore that will cover upgradation of tracks and signalling besides elimination of unmanned level crossings.

The Railway Budget, merged with General Budget 2017-18, also provides for commissioning of new railway lines of 3,500 km will against 2,800 kms in 2016-17. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the Plan size for the next fiscal for the Railways at Rs 1,31,000 crore as against Rs 1.21 lakh crore last year. He proposed creation of ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (National Rail Safety Fund) with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore. Emphasising on safety, the Budget proposed elimination of all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network by 2020.

Addressing concerns of the differently-abled persons, Jaitley announced that 500 stations would be made disbaled friendly. Railway PSUs IRCTC, IRFC and Concor are to be listed on various stock exchanges.

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