Rail Budget 2015: 25 key highlights in Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu’s speech

By: | Updated: February 27, 2015 8:26 AM

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in his first budget expectedly avoided any hike in passenger fares and announced a slew of passenger services

Rail Budget, Rail Budget 2015, Suresh PrabhuUnion Minister Suresh Prabhu lifts the briefcase containing Rail Budget papers for the year 2015-16 as he arrives at Parliament house to present it in New Delhi, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (AP)

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in his first Rail Budget expectedly avoided any hike in passenger fares and announced a slew of passenger services aimed at improving the travelling experience of the commuters.

Blending investment and technology, the minister announced several steps to revamp the facilities at the railway stations, ticketing and other passenger services. Higher involvement of the private sector in railways functioning is also one of the key elements of the railway budget for 2015-16.

Here are 25 key highlights:

1. Rs 8.56 lakh crore investment plan for the period 2015-2019

2. To increase daily passenger carrying capacity from 21 million to 30 million in 5 years

3. Increase track length by 20% to 1,38,000 kms over next 5 years

4. To increase freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tones in 5 years

5. Plant proposed to convert waste to energy

6. 17,000 toilets in coaches to be replaced by bio-toilets

7. All-India 24/7 helpline number 138 to be launched

Rail Budget, Rail Budget 2015-16, Suresh PrabhuA graph representing Rail Budget at a glance.

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8. Toll free number 182 to be launched for women and safety issues

9. “Operation 5 minutes” and hot button for purchase of universal tickets

10. Online booking of retiring rooms and wheelchairs on select stations

11. Rs 120 crore to equip major stations with lifts and escalators

12. Allotment for passenger amenities raised by 67%

13. Open bids for station development

14. 84% rise in capital allotment to develop 1200 kms at Rs 8686 crore

15. Evaluation studies undertaken for bullet trains

A map of Indian Rail Network. (Reuters)A map of Indian Rail Network. (Reuters)

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16. Innovation council called Kayakalp to promote technology development and manufacturing

17. Railway research centres to be set up in select universities

18. Introduction of bar coded/RFID for tracking of parcels and freight wagons

19. Upgradation of equipment for examination of tracks

20. To tap insurance and pension funds and also multi-lateral and bi-lateral funds

21. Development of unmanned audio and visual warning system at unmanned crossings with ISRO

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22. Special training in soft skills for frontline staff

23. To set up full-fledged university in 2015-16

24. Setting up environment directorate for focus on environment management

25. 1,000 MW solar plant with the help of MNRE

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