Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, February 26, 2003

News
Features
Stocks
Port Info
Archives


Subscription

Group Sites

Highlights Of Railway Budget 2003-04



Speech of Shri Nitish Kumar introducing the Railway Budget, 2003-04 on 26th February 2003

Introduction

  • Launching of the National Rail Vikas Yojana - a non-budgetary initiative involving
    • Strengthening of Golden Quadrilateral.
    • Augmenting rail connectivity to ports.
    • Construction of four mega bridges.

Passenger Fares

  • No increase in passenger fares.
  • Fares of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains to be linked to rationalised fare structure of Mail/Express trains, fixing basic fare for each class of Rajdhani and Shatabdi 15 percent higher than fares of corresponding class of super-fast Mail Express trains.
  • Basic fares of different classes of Rajdhani and Shatabdi will now be lower for most pairs of stations.
  • Basic fare of Jan Shatabdi Express to be reduced from existing mark up of 10 percent to 5 percent over fares of corresponding class of super-fast Mail Express trains; Catering services on Jan Shatabdi to be made optional.
  • Reduced fares in selected trains in non-peak period to be introduced-10 percent reduction in basic fares of AC-I and AC-II tier in all Rajdhani trains between 15th July, 2003 and 15th September, 2003 proposed as an experimental measure.

Freight Rates

  • No increase in freight rates proposed.
  • Band of freight rates further compacted and total number of classes reduced from 32 to 27.
  • Ratio between freight rates for the highest and lowest class drops from 3.3 to 2.8.
  • Classification of petrol for train load reduced by 3 stages, freight rates lower by 10.7 percent.
  • Classification of certain other commodities including HSD, Furnace Oil, Crude Oil, Naphtha, LPG, Compressed Gases, Lubricating Oil, Iron and Steel, Pig Iron, Iron Scrap, Cement Sheets, Petroleum Coke and Soda Ash to be reduced by two stages. Molasses, Bitumen, Refined Vegetable Oils (Div.A) and Sulphuric Acid also proposed to be charged two stages lower. As a result, freight rates lower by 5.3 to 9.5 percent.
  • Classification of Cement, Clinker, Manganese Ore and Caustic Soda liquid (in tank wagon) to be reduced by one stage - reduction in freight around 3.7 percent.
  • Uniform class to be assigned for certain groups of commodities which are loadable up to the full carrying capacity of wagons, irrespective of the physical form.
  • Railways willing to consider long term agreements with individual oil companies for further reduction in freight rates provided volumes of additional traffic for rail movement are guaranteed.
  • Graded concessions to be offered for all traffic booked upto 90 kms.

    • Upto 50 kms 50 percent concession.

    • 51 kms. to 75 kms. 25 percent concession.
    • 76 kms. to 90 kms. 10 percent concession.

  • "To pay" surcharge reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent for coal and from 10 percent to 5 percent for other commodities.
  • Any commodity with only wagon load class to be assigned a train load class one stage lower than wagon load class-freight reduction 4 percent to 5.26 percent.

Passenger services

  • 50 additional Express trains to be introduced.
  • Frequencies of 13 popular trains to be increased.
  • 24 services to be extended.

  • MEMU/DEMU services to be introduced in 11 sections.
  • Un-reserved Ticketing System to be extended.
  • Refund against reserved ticket after departure of train to be permitted from any PRS center three hours after train reaches destination.
  • Charge for issuing duplicate ticket to be refunded at PRS center at destination on completion of journey.
  • Minimum age for men to avail Senior Citizens concession reduced from 65 to 60 years.
  • Concessions to Cancer, Thalassemia major patients, heart patients extended to some other classes of travel. Kidney patients traveling for treatment also to get concession.
  • Distance limit and restriction on place of residence for Accredited Press Correspondents availing concession, to be removed. Further, 30 percent concession in Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains also to be given.

Punctuality

  • Monitoring mechanism to be improved through introduction of a new computerised Coaching Operation Information Systems (COIS).

Operation Cleanliness

  • Task Force constituted to frame an Action Plan
  • Specialized equipment to be deployed in association with private sector.

Safety

  • White paper covering the entire spectrum of issues involved in Safety in train operations to be presented in Parliament during the current session.
  • More than 20,000 vacancies in safety categories in Group `D' to be filled up through Railway Recruitment Boards within the next one year.
  • Upgradation of training facilities and introduction of modules on disaster management proposed in the training centres.
  • Anti-Collision Device (ACD)-

  • Field Trials successfully completed on Jallandhar-Amritsar section.
  • Provision of ACDs on about 1800 routes kilometers and ACD surveys on 1641 route kilometers in progress.
  • ACD survey over additional 10,000 route kilometers to be done
  • Provision of ACD over additional 1750 kilometers proposed.

  • Continuous Track Circuiting, presently being executed within station limits, to be done in block sections on selected sections of `A','B' & `C' routes at a cost of Rs. 425 cr.
  • Underwater inspection and computerized non-destructive testing of bridges to be introduced.
  • A modern Bridge Management System to be introduced
  • Coaches being redesigned to improve their crash worthiness.
  • Net expenditure under Special Railway Safety Fund (SRSF) in 2001-02 Rs. 1434 cr as against budgeted Rs. 1400 cr.
  • In 2002-03, outlay under SRSF increased by Rs. 100 cr over the Budget Estimates of Rs.2210 cr.

Projects

  • Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. incorporated to execute projects of National Rail Vikas Yojana.
  • Strengthening of GQ and diagonals costing about Rs. 8000 cr to be the major part.
  • Part loan of US $ 313.6 million approved by ADB.
  • The only remaining mega bridge over river Kosi approved and included in the budget.
  • Jammu-Udhampur targeted for completion by March 2004 and rail link up to Katra likely to be completed during 2004-05.
  • Additional funds of Rs. 500 cr being provided in 2003-04 for Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula national project.
  • Strategic projects of Luni-Munabao and Kolayat-Phalodi progressing well; gauge conversion up to Samdari completed.
  • 1340 kms. of BG lines to be completed in 2003-04. This includes 225 kms of new lines, 775 kms. of gauge conversion, 340 kms. doubling.
  • Mumbai Urban Transport Project Phase-I approved-to be completed in 5 years, with a loan component of Rs. 1613 cr by World Bank.

Annual Plan 2003-04

  • Total plan outlay is Rs. 12918

    cr including outlay of Rs. 2311 cr through SRSF.

  • Funds received from General Exchequer Rs. 6577 cr, including Rs. 1600 cr contribution to SRSF and Rs. 433 cr from Central Road Fund.
  • Market Borrowings budgeted at Rs. 3000 cr , internal generation to provide Rs. 2630 cr and Safety Surcharge collection expected to be Rs. 711 cr.
  • Rs. 730 cr to be invested in Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd., for execution of Rail Vikas Yojana Works under new lines, doubling, gauge conversion and electrification.

Budget Estimates 2003-04

  • Expected growth in traffic 25 million tonnes of freight and 3 percent increase in number of passengers.
  • Ordinary Working Expenses budgeted at Rs. 32460 cr, i.e., 7 percent increase over Revised Estimate 2002-03.
  • Dividend due to the General Revenues budgeted at Rs. 2930 cr, to be discharged in full.

Other Measures and Initiatives

  • 1000 mega watt captive thermal power plant to be set up at Nabinagar as a JV between Railway and NTPC.
  • Drive for planting Ratan Jyot and extracting bio-diesel in collaboration with Indian Oil Corporation

Review of Financial Performance in 2001-02

  • Freight performance better than

    revised target by Rs. 235 cr.

  • Set back in passenger earnings in fourth quarter; shortfall of Rs. 204 cr
  • Overall, Gross Traffic Receipts Rs. 118 cr higher than Revised Estimates
  • Saving of Rs. 397 cr in Ordinary Working Expenses over Revised Estimates
  • Rs. 1337 cr paid as dividend after deferring Rs. 1000 cr as envisaged in Budget Estimates.
  • Loan of Rs. 249 cr taken from General Exchequer for Capital Fund fully repaid.

Review of Financial Performance in 2002-03

  • Loading exceeded the proportionate target to end January, 2003. Hence, originating loading target revised from 510 mt to 515 mt.
  • Drop of 3 percent in number of passengers to end December, 2002.
  • Goods earnings likely to exceed the budget target of Rs. 26,118 cr by Rs. 540 cr.
  • Passenger earnings likely to fall short of the budget target of Rs. 13450 cr by Rs. 720 cr.
  • Railway dues, particularly from State Electricity Boards/Power Houses, likely to go up by Rs. 417 cr, as against clearance of Rs. 50 cr anticipated in Budget Estimates.
  • Overall, Gross Traffic Receipts expected to be Rs. 671 cr less than Budget Estimates.
  • With sustained monitoring, likely

    savings of Rs. 850 cr in Ordinary Working Expenses.

  • Dividend liability to be discharged in full, in addition Rs. 50 cr proposed to be cleared from the Deferred Dividend Liability Account.

Customer Satisfaction.

  • Year 2003-04 dedicated to the Customers and declared as `Customer Satisfaction Year'
  • Several steps relating to safety, security, punctuality and cleanliness to be taken for greater satisfaction of customers.

Security

  • Recruitment of over 3500 constables in RPF/RPSF to be done in 2003-04 through RRBs.

Railway Recruitment Board

  • Question Papers for objective type test for Group `D' recruitment by RRBs to also be set in the local languages, listed in the VIII Schedule.

Parcels and Luggage.

  • Scales for charging of parcel and luggage to be reduced from 7 to 4.
  • Ratio between highest and lowest rates to be reduced from 8.7 to 6.2.
  • Henceforth all types of parcels including luggage to be charged uniformly at the same rate under four scales.

    • Scale -R Rajdhani Service-applicable to Rajdhani Express Trains
    • Scale -P Premier Service - By certain notified Mail Express Trains.
    • Scale -S Standard Service - For other Mail/Express Trains, Shatabdi Express and Parcel Express Trains.
    • Scale-E Economy Service-By Ordinary Passenger Trains.

  • Newspapers and Magazines to be charged at the same rates under lowest Scale-E in all trains.
  • All proposals to come into effect from 1.4.2003.

 

 



Business Line | NUS Index |

In Depth
Simple Economics
Consumer Notes
Tax Talk
The Brahmananda collections
NRIs & Investment Avenues
Corporate Governance
Gold: Still the winner?
Cars: Always a beauty
Books and Reviews

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |

Copyright 2003, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line