There was keen interest from all quarters in the Rail Budget – the first one of the Narendra Modi government. Let us analyse it and see if this is the beginning of the ‘Acche Din’ –
- E-Ticketing Services will be improved so that about 7200 tickets can be booked per minute and 120,000 users can be accommodated simultaneously on the website. This is a great step as there are lots of complaints on the online booking services.
- Effort to provide online booking of railway retiring rooms and platform tickets will be made. A plan to popularize booking of tickets via mobile phones and post offices will be in place which will make ticket booking convenient in urban and rural areas.
- When my uncle was in Europe, he was amazed to see business travellers easily finishing a lot of work on their travel between two cities because of the high quality trains and availability of network and power facilities in some of them. Similarly Internet (wifi facilities) and Workstation Facilities will be provided in some of our trains which certainly is a good sign.
- 58 new trains are being launched which is a good sign as capacity had to be increased. Railways is an efficient public transportation system that is cost effective and more environmentally more friendly.
- Ready to eat food and pre-cooked food of reputed brands will be available on trains. This will hopefully mean more choices and more hygiene. Vendors supplying unhygienic food will face the risk of losing their contract. Filtered Drinking water will be provided in stations. Food courts are planned to be built in major stations so that people have many interesting and hot food options. These are steps in the right direction to provide convenience to travellers. Of course this might mean that the age old ritual of packing dabbas for a train journey will stop which was part of the enjoyment of a long train journey.
- Cleanliness and sanitation is given importance in this budget as 40% of higher allocation is given to this aspect. Outsourcing of cleanliness management in 50 stations is also approved. This is really necessary as quite a few train stations in the country do not satisfy even basic hygiene standards.
- Onboard Housekeeping services will be available in all trains which means laundry services for the linen provided will be available within the trains.
- The budget has mentioned to introduce high speed trains in certain corridors. The trains will run 160km-200km per hour which is great as it will save travel time for passengers if implemented properly.
- There is emphasis on safety as there will be increase in the recruitment of RPF personnel. It is also planned that 4000 women constables will be recruited. There is budget allocated for over bridges and under bridges so that people need not cross railway tracks and unmanned level crossings can be eliminated.
- A bullet train has been proposed between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Though it needs a lot of work and is just planned for 1 route, it hopefully promises modernisation and more such facilities throughout the country.
There are many positive things promised in the budget. If they are implemented in a cost effective manner with appropriate quality standards maintained, it will definitely be good for us.
What do you think of the Rail Budget. Which of these facilities would help you the most?
This article is written by our Para Planner Ravi Varyani.