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Speech of Shri Nitish Kumar
Introducing the Railway Budget, 1999-2000
on 25th February 1999 - Part I(b)

Steps taken by Railways to increase Revenues

Sir, the freight loading in the current year has been a matter of concern despite various efforts made. Only recently some signs of recovery have been noticed and we hope that the coming year will be more favourable. Innovative marketing efforts are being made to increase loading on the railways and we hope to increase loading of 'Other Goods' traffic rather than depend only on core traffic like Coal, Iron & Steel, raw material for steel plants etc. Now I would like to elaborate the various steps taken by Railways to increase revenue :-
Ministry of Railways have reduced the classification of some commodities and have also given 'Volume Discount', so that we become more competitive. In addition, the facility of two-point rake loading has been provided at some stations and supply of rakes is being made in less than 48 hours.
A special package has been prepared for the Steel sector to attract traffic to railways.
Container Corporation is running trains at 100 kmph with wagons of new and advanced technology between Delhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai. This has reduced the transit time between Delhi and Mumbai from 95 hours to 48 hours. CONCOR also plans to run 40 CONTRACK trains per month to provide guaranteed transit services for expensive goods such as television, refrigerators, air-conditioners etc.
Full powers have been given to the General Managers to quote station-to-station rates so as to provide requisite impetus to the marketing efforts.
Sir, along with steps taken to increase freight loading, we have also decided to initiate certain other new measures to increase revenues in 1999-2000 :-
Leasing of front brakevan in all passenger trains for parcel traffic
Recommence manufacture of parcel vans with a view to increasing parcel traffic
Running of special parcel trains between important stations and trading centres in which some space will be available on lease
To bring transparency and competitiveness in catering contracts for Pantry Cars and Refreshment Rooms, two-packet system is being introduced. Provision for minimum licence fee is being made more than double the existing licence fees. Further, the security deposit by the contractors is being sufficiently increased to contain the tendency of malpractices.
It is proposed to increase minimum penalty for ticketless travel from Rs. 50/- to Rs. 250/-. While increasing revenues, this will reduce inconvenience to the genuine passengers.
The rates for commercial advertisements at railway stations, which are presently quite low, will be increased.
A separate Directorate is being created by RITES to offer consultancy services as well as provide implementation packages to our major freight customers. Making available a single window interface with the railways will enable our customers to reduce their total logistic cost in using the rail mode of transportation.

Passenger Services

Sir, people's representatives and the public often make requests to either start new trains, increase the frequency of trains, extend the run of trains or provide additional halts. Much as I would like to, it is not always possible to fulfill such demands due to limitation of resources and other technical reasons. However, within the available resources, it is proposed to provide the following 14 new train services :-
Chennai - Tirupati Shatabdi Express
Shalimar - Haldia Intercity Express
Secunderabad - Machhilipatnam Express
Mumbai - Sawantwadi - Madgaon Intercity Express
Kurla - Patna Superfast Express (Biweekly)
Amritsar - Dharbanga Express via Narkatiaganj (Biweekly)
Jaipur - Bangalore Express via Secunderabad (Biweekly)
Guwahati - Chennai Express (Biweekly)
Delhi - Gandhidham Express (Biweekly)
Delhi - Coimbatore Express (Weekly)
Pune - Ernakulam Express (Weekly)
Raichur - Gulbarga Intercity Service
Kamakhya - New Bongaigaon Passenger
Patna - Mughalsarai Passenger via Gaya
The frequency of the following trains will be increased :-
8017/8018 Howrah - Purulia Express from 6 days a week to daily
8463/8464 Bangalore - Visakhapatnam Express from 2 days a week to 4 days a week
1095/1096 Pune - Ahmedabad Ahimsa Express from 3 days a week to 4 days a week
2101/2102 Kurla - Howrah Super Deluxe Express from weekly to 3 days a week
The run of the following trains will be extended :-
4047/4048 Delhi - Gorakhpur Express to Raxaul via Narkatiaganj
5207/5208 Amritsar - Barauni Express to Katihar
4737/4738 Bikaner - Jaipur Express to Ajmer (M.G.)
5741/5742 Alipurduar - Siliguri Intercity Express to New Jalpaigur express on 2 days a week to Bhusaval
6343/6344 Ernakulam - Nizamuddin Swarnajayanti weekly Express to Tiruvananthapuram
2307/2308 Jodhpur-Howrah Express (daily) running via Grand Chord will run via Main Line one day in a week.
On completion of gauge conversion, the following improved broad gauge services shall be provided :-
Four pairs of passenger services on Narkatiaganj-Gorakhpur section
Three pairs of passenger services on Indara - Phephna section
Three pairs of passenger services on Lalkuan - Kashipur section

MEMU, DMU and Rail Bus services shall be introduced on the following sections :-

MEMU Services
Jhajha - Kiul section
Vijayawada - Kakinada section
Kakinada - Visakhapatnam section
Durg - Raipur- Bilaspur section
DMU Services
Anand - Khambat (B.G)
Vijayawada - Bhimavaram - Narsapur (B.G.)
Delhi - Shamli (B.G.)
Mehasana - Tarangahill (M.G.)
Rail Bus Services
Bangarapet - Kolar (B.G.)
Tiruturaipundi - Agastiampalli (M.G.)
Banmankhi - Bihariganj (M.G.)

Security

Security on Railways has been a matter of concern and Hon'ble Members have also been expressing their dissatisfaction in this regard. Although the subject of law and order on the railways falls under the purview of the State Governments, we have been constantly striving to improve the coordination between the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF). In this regard, I had also convened a high level meeting of Home Secretaries of State Governments, Heads of GRP and the officers of the RPF in August 1998. With these coordination efforts, the situation is likely to improve.
Improvements are also being made in the functioning of the RPF and necessary action has been initiated to give more investigative powers to the officers of RPF. Approval has already been given for setting up two additional battalions for the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) and it is proposed to add another two battalions in future.

Association of Railway Protection Force

Hon'ble Members may recall that the Railway Protection Force, for quite some time, has been requesting recognition of their association. This issue has also been raised in this House. I am glad to inform that recognition to Railway Protection Force Association has been restored.

Annual Plan 1999-2000

The Plan outlay for 1999-2000 has been kept at Rs. 9,700 cr. This implies an increase of Rs. 945 cr over the Revised Estimate of last year. This increase in plan outlay has been possible due to increase in Capital from the General Exchequer to the level of Rs. 2,540 cr as against Rs. 2,200 cr in the previous year. In percentage terms, this is 26% of Plan outlay which is the highest since 1993-94. I would like to thank the Hon'ble Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Planning Commission for this increase in Capital Support from the General Exchequer. However, I would earnestly request the Finance Minister to increase this support by another Rs. 200 cr so that, in this "Passenger year", we are in a position to serve the passengers in still better ways. I do hope that the Finance Minister will accede to my request. I am sure the passengers will also join me in thanking the Finance Minister.
As far as internal resource generation by the Railways is concerned, I mentioned earlier that the working expenses of Railways have increased after acceptance of the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission. The working expenses in 1999-2000 cannot remain unaffected by this. Moreover, the trend of growth of freight traffic has also slowed down. This has resulted in reduced generation of internal resources which are not sufficient to meet the plan requirement. I therefore propose to withdraw Rs. 1,000 cr from the Railways' Fund balances. As in previous years, extra budgetary resources, mainly through market borrowings by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation, will provide the balance requirements for the Plan.
Sir, the thrust of this Annual Plan is on Safety. The outlay on Track Renewal Plan Head has been increased to Rs. 1500 cr which is 19 % over Revised Estimates, 1998-99. Maintaining the trend of last year to expedite track circuiting and other safety related works, allocation under Signal & Telecommunication Plan Head has been increased from previous year's Revised Estimate of Rs. 325 cr to Rs. 375 cr. In view of the importance of doubling of track for increasing line capacity, the allocation for this Plan Head has been raised from Rs. 472 cr to Rs. 625 cr which is an increase of 32%. To improve passenger amenities, the allocation under Passenger Amenities Plan Head has been increased by 45% as compared to the Revised Estimates. For speedier progress of metropolitan transport projects in Calcutta, Chennai and Mumbai, allocation of Rs. 300 cr has been made, representing an increase of 52% over the previous year.
To extend rail network to new areas of the country, Rs. 600 cr have been allocated under the Plan Head New Lines, representing an increase of 59% over the Revised Estimates. In the beginning of the current decade, project 'Unigauge' was launched. Under this scheme, 8,363 km track has been converted to broad gauge till 1998-99. A provision of Rs. 645 cr has been made for gauge conversion in the next year.

New Projects

As you are aware, at present Indian Railways have pending projects involving outlay of about Rs. 34,000 cr, out of which new line projects and gauge conversion projects are about Rs. 20,000 cr and Rs. 9,000 cr respectively. Keeping this in view, recently Railway Ministry has, after the approval of Cabinet, determined the priorities of projects. The allocation of funds for various projects has been made not only on the basis of operational requirement but also keeping in view the development of backward areas. As far as possible, regional balance has also been kept in view.
Last year, when I took charge of the Railway Ministry, the Railways had a large number of projects which did not have necessary approvals. I am happy to inform the House that during the year, necessary clearances have been received for many projects. These are as follows :-
New Lines
Koderma to Giridih
Macherla to Nalgonda
Angamali to Sabarmati via Erumeli
Lalitpur to Satna, Rewa-Singrauli and Khajuraho-Mahoba
Diphu to Karong
Ranchi to Koderma via Hazaribagh
Dharmavaram to Penukonda via Puttaparthy
Chandigarh to Ludhiana
Taran Taran to Goindwal
Kalka to Parvanoo
Bishrampur to Ambikapur
Baramati to Lonand
Bangalore to Satyamangalam
Bidar to Gulbarga
Gadwal to Raichur
Dumka to Baidyanathdham
Gauge Conversion
Jaynagar-Darbhanga-Narkatiaganj
Madurai-Rameswaram
Quilon-Tirunelveli-Trichendur-Tenkasi-Virudunagar
Katakhal-Bhairabi
New Jalpaiguri-Siliguri-New Bongaigaon
Bankura-Damodar Railway Line
Doubling
Yeshwantpur-Tumkur
Railway Electrification
Lucknow-Kanpur
Kusunda-Jamunia Tand
Ludhiana-Amritsar
Hon'ble Members would recall that during the Budget discussions last year, the dilemma faced by Railways, whether in view of shortage of resources the railways should continue to satisfy the demands for new works or they should consolidate the rail infrastructure and give greater priority to safety and modernisation was discussed. A policy level decision on this subject has now become essential. In the "Status Paper" and "White Paper" also, it has been brought out that even now we have a large number of old pending projects. Possibly, there cannot be an easy solution for this dilemma because the development of backward areas is necessary and new demands keep coming. However, in this Budget we are making an effort that first we strengthen our existing railway system so that safety is improved, railway operation becomes effective and we are able to technologically upgrade and modernise the railways. Despite this, wherever possible we have tried to meet new demands also.
 

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