The rail minister, D V Sadananda Gowda, will present the rail budget of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government today. We may expect a cleaner and greener railway.
The new rail minister, D V Sadananda Gowda, will present the much awaited rail budget of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government today. After the acceptance of rail fare hike by most of the country’s population for better services, it is to be seen what joy today’s rail budget brings to the common man.
Since the ideas of the prime minister have already come to the fore regarding the railways, it should be expected that those ideas will descend in Gowda’s maiden rail budget. Let’s have a look at other things that we should expect from the rail budget:
- Clean railways: We all are fed up of dirty toilets in the trains and litters on the platform. The cleanliness in catering and other services too is required. The rail budget is expected to bring solutions to these woes. We may expect installation of CCTV cameras, introduction of bio-toilets (like those in the aircrafts which do not need water), outsourcing and strict monitoring of catering services for the same.
- Green railways: Gowda may announce installation of solar panels on trains which will not only help railways to save on fuel but will also help it sell the excess power generated and earn profits. PM Modi had spoken about it when he had gone to inaugurate the Udhampur-Katra train last week.
- FDI: Long-distance trains with private investment are likely to be introduced in the budget.
- Bullet trains: Every rail minister loves to announce it, but this time we may see something happening in reality.
- Railway University: There is a shortage of skilled manpower in the country and the railways needs to be expanding. We are moving to the next generation of metro trains and bullet trains may well be our next experiment. Railway University will serve the purpose as it will train personnel in technical matters concerning the railways, including the building of long-distance tunnels.
- Char Dham: Tunnels are likely to be dug to connect Char Dhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. However, the feasibility of such a project is not known and hence, certain reports claim, that all the tickets will carry the legend “Subsidy of Rs … borne by the Railways’.
- Massive Recruitment: The railways is expected to announce a massive recruitment drive with special attention to the retired servicemen who will be expected to man the level crossings.
- IT at work: The rail minister may announce revamping of many trains with IT at play in most of the projects. He is likely to announce pilot project for introduction of automatic closing of doors in Shatabdi coaches and EMU coaches in Mumbai suburban train as safety measures for passengers to prevent accidental fall from running train. Modernised stations, mechanized cleaning of train coaches may well be expected.
- Office on wheels: Reports are rife that the rail ministry is planning to set up cabins equipped with computers, printers, internet and refreshments in a few coaches of select trains — mainly Shatabdis and some medium-distance AC Express trains — on a pilot basis to provide work-related amenities for corporates on the move. It may provide internet connectivity and may also charge for all such facilities.
- Avoiding accidents: The rail ministry has done many things to avoid an accident scenario. But nothing seems to work. The anti-collision device system, new train signaling system TPWS and various new software for the same are in limbo. It is expected that the rail minister will chalk out safety measures.
The railways are under heavy debt and need major overhaul. Let’s hope Gowda’s budget brings joy to the public and to the railways.