Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
The railways have decided not to have service charge on e tickets booked through IRCTC. This is to promote cashless ticket booking in railways. Announcing this, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that in last few months cashless ticket bokking had gone up from 58 to 68 percent. For the first time, the railway budget was presented as part of the Union budget.
He said four areas of priority for Railways were Passenger safety, capital works, cleanliness & financial. Some of the major points of the railway budget are following.
Total rail capital expenditure for fiscal year 2018 pegged at 1.31 trillion rupees.
Railway tariffs to be fixed on the basis of cost, social obligation and competition.
Delhi and Jaipur to have solid waste management plants and five more to be set up later.
Government proposes Coach Mitra facility to redress grievances related to rail coaches.
Unmanned railway level crossings to be eliminated by 2020, there are more than 9000 such crossings that pose as death traps.
Railway line of 3,500 km will be commissioned in 2017-18 as against 2,800 km in 2016-17.
A new metro rail policy will be announced, this will open up new jobs for our youth.
Five special tourism zones to be set up in partnership with states.
To set up a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore fund for rail safety over a period of 5 years.
At least 25 stations expected to be awarded for redevelopment during 2017-18.
500 stations will be made disabled-friendly.
Our focus will be on Swacchha Railways.
By 2019, all coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets.
SMS based clean-my-coach service to be launched.
IRCTC, IRFC, IRCON to be listed in stock exchanges.
Service charges on e-tickets booked from IRCTC website will be withdrawn.
Railways will integrate end to end transport solutions for selected commodities through partnership.
Centralised Defence travel system, where travel ticket can be booked by soldiers.
Steps will be taken to launch dedicated trains for pilgrimage & tourism.
(For news in Hindi see our Hindi daily Chaupal Chronicle)