Passenger fares and freight rates were left untouched today in the interim Rail Budget 2014 presented by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, which highlighted plans for the involvement of private sector and FDI as part of efforts to modernise the largest transport network in the country.
Presenting the interim budget for four months in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said an independent Rail Tariff Authority is being set up to rationalise fares and there was a proposal to expand dynamic pricing of tickets in line with the airline industry.
Following are the highlights of the Interim Rail Budget:
*No increase in passenger fares and freight charges
*17 new premium trains, 38 express trains and 10 passenger trains to be launched
*Premium AC trains with dynamic fares on Delhi-Mumbai route with shorter advance reservation period
* Passenger rail service to Katra and Vaishnodevi to start shortly
* Railways to expand services to Meghalaya
* More high-speed trains to be launched
* Railways exploring low cost option of 160-200 kmph speed trains on select routes
* Rail Tariff Authority to advise on fares and freight
* Mumbai to get AC EMUs in July
* Trains to display info on next stations, arrival times
* More Jan Ahaar outlets, escalators at stations
* Upgradation scheme extended to AC Chair Car and Executive Chair car passengers * Annual Rail Plan envisaged at Rs 64,305 crore with a budgetary support of Rs 30,223 crore
* FDI being enabled for creation of rail infrastructure
* Railways to end current year with surplus
* Surveys for 19 new lines and 5 doubling of tracks
* Railways to encourage transportation of milk
* Steps to reduce running of empty freight carriages
* Bio-toilet facility to be provided in more trains.