Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February 2015 presented the first full-fledged Rail Budget of the Modi government for 2015-16. He did not announce any new trains, saying on the ground that a review was on about the capacity to add more trains which will be announced after the review is over. Against the backdrop of talk of privatisation of railways, the Minister said Railways will continue to be a precious national asset and people of India will own railways always. Following are the highlights of the Railway Budget 2015-16:
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* No increase in railway passenger fares.
* Rail tickets can now be booked 120 days in advance.
* 'Operation 5 mins', wherein passengers travellling unreserved can purchase a ticket in 5 minutes.
* Bio toilets and airplane-type vaccum toilets in trains.
* Surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women's safety without compromising on privacy.
* Speed on nine railway corridors to go up to 200 km per hour.
* Wi-Fi in more stations, mobile phone charging facilities in all train compartments.
* Facility of online booking of wheelchair for senior citizens.
* Satellite railway terminals in major cities.
* Centrally managed Rail Display Network is expected to be introduced in over 2K stations over the next 2 years.
* All india 24/7 helpline - 138 from March 2015 ; Toll free No.182 for security.
* 917 road under-bridges and over-bridges to be constructed to replace 3,438 railway crossings; at a cost of Rs. 6,581 crore.
* Four Railway Research Centres to start in four universities.
* 24 to 26 coaches in certain identified trains, more general class coaches, ladders to be replaced.
* 17000 more toilets to be replaced by bio-toilets.
* The facility of e-ticketing will help railways to go paper less.
* SMS alert services for passengers to inform them about arrival and departure of trains.
* Modern facilities for disabled citizens, senior citizens, patients through IRCTC.
* In 400 stations wi-fi facility will be provided.
* Rs 8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways in next 5 years.
* Cleanliness in Railways highest priority under Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat.
* Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments.
* A1 category stations will be given the facility of Wi-Fi.
* Freight rate for cement, coal, others hiked by up to 10%
* More General class coaches to be added.
* On-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains.
* A new department to keep stations, trains clean.
* Collision Avoidance System to be installed on select routes.
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View Rail Budget Speech (Hindi): Click Here
Rail Budget Highlights: Click Here