This we can expect in today’s rail budget
Cess for cleanliness a possibility, fares for Tatkal maybe hiked
And while a fare hike is unlikely across the board since passenger growth has been negative in the last year, a cess for cleanliness cannot be ruled out. According to a report in Economic Times, minor adjustments in fares of tatkals and premium special trains that run on dynamic pricing cannot be ruled out.
New trains unlikely
Given the funds constraints, Prabhu is likely to go slow in announcing new trains and projects in the budget and funds allocation will be made only for those projects including new lines which are strategically crucial, doubling and route electrification which are nearing completion.
Cleanliness of stations and bio-toilets a priority
Prabhu might also focus on aspects related to passenger satisfaction which include cleanliness, catering, linen, ease of access to booking information and tickets.
Bullet trains and AC rakes
Keeping with the NDA government’s bullet train promise, Prabhu could announce the way forward for the ambitious high-speed train project between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and survey programmes for the proposed diamond quadrilateral route.
Make In India for Railways too
Manufacturing of many locomotive components like crank shafts, alternators and forged wheels will also be proposed to be undertaken indigenously instead of importing these parts from outside as part of ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Making Railways disabled-friendly
Prabhu, in his bid to make the railways disabled-friendly, is likely to make a proposal to provide for Braille signs in all new coaches to facilitate vision-impaired passengers.
IT and Wifi
The budget is expected to propose extensive use of IT systems in everything from the management of rolling stock to the development of Apps for passengers and provision for WiFi on rail premises.
Use of solar energy in a big way, launching of waste-to-energy project and proliferation of CNG in train operations are some of the green initiatives likely to be announced in the Rail Budget this time. Besides an elaborate exercise of water conservation including setting up of water recycling plants will also be announced by Prabhu in his budget address on 26 February.
To ensure safety and security, a proposal to install CCTVs in coaches and on stations is likely to be presented.
Branding of trains