Harish Jharia

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26 February 2013

Indian Railway Minister’s Rail Budget 2013: Main Highlights and common people’s comments on the same


© Harish Jharia

Here are the main highlights of the Rail Budget 2013 as presented by the Indian Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. There are common people’s comments alongside of each point:
  1. No hike in passenger fares: How very funny? This is an utter lie. The fairs have been hiked in a deceiving manner. 
  2. Tatkal charges imposed on emergency booking of tickets: Imposing extra charges on Tatkal booking of ticket is an open exploitation of the needy passengers who need to book tickets in emergency situations, for example emergency treatment of patients in serious condition, death of near and dear ones, attending interviews for jobs and admission to educational institutes etc. 
  3. Eight more companies of women RPF personnel to be raised:  Why not male RPF companies be raised and making them more accountable. Who will protect the women RPF personnel on-board the running trains?  
  4. 67 new Express, 26 new passenger trains, 8 DEMU services, 5 MEMU services to be introduced: 57 trains to be extended; frequency of 24 trains to increase: This is the most important point that has not been almost ignored. The railway minister should have increased frequency of all the trains to 7 days per week that are running less than 7 days a week.  Introducing 93 new trains in the second most populous country in the world, is a very poor proposition, where each train runs full capacity every day, leaving behind hundreds of wait-list passengers and thousands those who even do not figure in wait-lists   
  5. 72 additional suburban services in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  6. Winners of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Dhyan Chand awards to get free first class passes: Oh! Really? Minister Sir, why to Rajeev Gandhi award winners and why not to all the national award winners? Has the budget has anything to do with a particular Congress leader.
  7. Complementary first class passes for parents of unmarried posthumous awardees of Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra: That is really good proposition. 
  8. Complementary passes of freedom fighters to be renewed every three years instead of annually: Oh! Really? Minister Sir, what is so great in it to figure in the annual budget?
  9. New forged wheel factory at Rae Bareli in collaboration with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd: Why at Rae Barely and why not somewhere else in starving Bundelkhand or Kalahandi where starving poor use to eat grass seeds and burnt rodents. 
  10. Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara along with Rajasthan government and BHEL: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  11. Coach making unit at Sonepat in collaboration with Haryana government: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  12. 1.51 lakh vacancies to be filled up: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  13. Azadi Express for travel to places associated with freedom struggle: Minister Sir, please do not play with the feelings of patriots “places associated with freedom struggle” cannot be singled out as the struggle was fought in the entire British India including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma… so on and so forth.  
  14. Free Wi-Fi to be provided on some trains: How is it going to benefit the rest of the 95% passengers who do not travel with laptops and do not use smartphones? 
  15. 179 escalators and 400 lifts at A 1 and other select stations: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  16. E-ticketing through mobile phones: Oh! Really? Minister Sir, does this facility not already in practice for online reservations?
  17. SMS alerts for passengers on reservation status: Oh! Really? Minister Sir, this facility is already there for online reservations.
  18. Next generation e-ticketing system by end of 2013: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  19. Introduction of Train Protection Warning System on Automatic Signalling Systems: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  20. Rigorous trials of indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  21. Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay.  
  22. Elimination of 10,797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and no addition of such crossings: This is a welcome step that should be implemented without any delay. 
  23. Six more Rail Neer purified water bottling plants to be setup: This is a welcome step; moreover, cost of the bottle should be kept Rs 10/- or less. 
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