Railway Budget 2017-18
The first Union Budget comprising allocations to and various proposals for the railways in the wake of the merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget laid emphasis on improving rail safety, pushing digital transactions, listing rail public sector units on stock markets and setting fares competing with other modes of transportation.
For the first time after the merger of the Budgets, Railways will not be required to pay annual dividend of around Rs 9,000 crore to the Finance Ministry beginning 2017-18.
- A Rail safety fund Named Rail Sanraksha Kosh with a corpus of Rs 100,000 crore will be created over a period of 5 years
- The service charge on rail tickets booked through IRCTC will be withdrawn. Earlier, the IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs 20 on sleeper class and Rs 40 on AC class e-tickets
- As many as 500 rail stations will be made differently abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators.
- Steps will be taken to launch dedicated trains for pilgrimage and tourism
- A new metro rail policy will be announced. This is expected to open up new jobs for the youth. Also with focus on “innovative models of implementation and financing, as well as standardization and indigenization of hardware and software.
- At least 25 train stations are expected to be awarded during 2017-18
- By 2019, all coaches of the Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets
- Railways will integrate end to end transport solutions for selected commodities through partnerships
- Unmanned railway level crossings to be eliminated by 2020
- A 22% rise in the Railways Budget was announced.
- A single window interface, named ‘Coach Mitra’, would be set up to register all coach related complaints and requirements