Rail budget is development-oriented, investor-friendly, goal-oriented and modern in approach and is in the interest of users. All regions of the country and sections of society have been kept in mind. Innovative and forward-looking initiatives have been proposed so that users are not over-burdened. Besides goals like speeding up of trains, emphasis on electrification, Project delivery, Passenger Amenities, Safety, Transparency & System Improvement and ensuring that Railways continue to be the preferred mode of transport for the masses, have also been taken care of.
Passenger fares have not been increased, so that general public is not affected. But provisions have been made for cleanliness, safety and amenities. Increase in allocation for passenger amenities by 67% without increasing the fares is indeed commendable. 200 more stations will come under Adarsh Station scheme and Wi Fi will be provided at B category stations. 24X7 helpline for attending passenger problems and security related complaints and surveillance cameras in suburban coaches for the safety of women passengers are also good initiatives. Proposal for 77 new projects covering 9,400 kms. of doubling/ tripling/ quadrupling works is praiseworthy. Mobile phone charging facilities will be provided in general class coaches & will be increased in sleeper class coaches. Operation five minute is a new initiative for ensuring that travelers with unreserved tickets can buy these tickets within five minutes. More General class coaches will be added in identified trains. All these decisions clearly indicate that budget is pro-poor and passenger-friendly.
Railways will also leverage additional resources and it envisages an investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years. Plan Outlay has been increased by 52%. I am confident that the four goals as delineated by the Rail Minister to transform Indian Railways in next five years will be accomplished. Rail Ministry deserves compliments for a comprehensive, all-inclusive and passenger-friendly budget and my best wishes are with them.