Top six things to know - New Railway Budget

The Indian Railways budget for the first time was announced on 1Feb 2017 for the year 2017-18. The plan included a 22% rise in the Railways Budget with the total capital and development expenditure set at Rs 1.31 lakh crore for the railways in 2017-18. In the combined Union Budget – Railway Budget, Jaitley said that Indian Railways will undertake trans-formative steps to better compete with other modes of transport. This year the four main priorities the government has set for the Railways are passenger safety, development work, cleanliness and a reform in the Railways account. 

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Here are the six highlights.
1. New Rail Safety Fund: Rashtriya Rail Suraksha Kosh will be established over a period of 5 years, with a corpse of Rs 100,000 crore.
2. No more Service Tax: Indian Railways will be doing away with service charges for IRCTC ticket booking as announced in the budget.
3. Disabled-friendly: Indian Railways plans to make 500 rail stations disabled friendly by providing lifts and escalators.
4. Bio-focus: By 2019 all coaches of the Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets.
5. Goodbye Unmanned crossings: Indian Railways plans to eliminate all unmanned Railways level crossings on the broad gauge network by 2020.
6. The launch of a New Service: The Superfast Antyodaya Express will soon set up with unreserved, second class services.

The Railways budget primarily focus will be on four major areas – passenger safety, capital and development works, cleanliness and financial reforms. The government is also likely to constitute a special safety fund for the Indian Railways. The government has been talking about cleanliness and safety of passengers for long and steps in these directions have already been taken. Indian Railways booking app can be extensively be used for PNR Status check and checking all types of Indian Railways Enquiry. Emphasizing the government’s focus of ‘Swachh Bharat’, the government is taking series of steps to enhance the cleanliness in Railways. An SMS bases service ‘Clean My Coach Service’ has already started. They now propose to introduce the ‘Coach Mitra’ facility, a single window interface to register all coach related complaints and requirements. The railways budget merged with the regular budget is off to a sound start.

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