Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi presented his maiden Railway Budget in Lok Sabha today with a clear focus on safety and security of the passengers and railway properties. He has announced a fare hike across all categories, including the Sleeper Class and AC Tiers.
This is the first time in 10 years, the Railways has increased the passenger fares, saying it was inevitable becuase of the losses and lack of budgetary support from the Centre. The platform ticket will now cost Rs 5 instead of Rs 3.
The second class fares have been hiked by 2 paisa per km, while the AC Chair Class tickets will cost 3 paisa per km more. The sleeper class tickets will cost 5 paisa per km more. The AC Tier 1, 2, 3 tickets will cost 20 paisa, 15 paisa and 10 paisa per km respectively.
"I am grateful to the 'Maa', 'Maanush' and 'Maati' (Mother, Human and Soil), he said before presenting the Railway Budget. Dinesh Trivedi attempted to modernise the Indian Railways with a great vision. He also introduced 75 new Express Trains and 21 Passenger Trains this year.
Dinesh Trivedi thanked the PM, Finance Minister, UPA Chairperson, Leader of Opposition and former Railway Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. He also thanked the people of India for giving him a chance to present the Railway Budget today.
"I tried to learn from the past and took the cue from my predecessors while preparing my maiden Railway Budget. I always received Lalu's blessings and won't be able to get to his stature. I also took the direction from Mamata Banerjee," he said with all humility.
"Safety is main concern and sole emphasis. I am not satisfied with the existing safety standards. I plan to remove all unmanned level crossings in India in the next five years. We will set up an independent Railway Authority," he said.
The Railway Minister revealed that he met all Chief Ministers before preparing the Railway Budget and received 5,711 requests from all states. "We should be ready to bite the bullet to modernise the Indian Railway," he said.
Anil Kakodkar will head the Railway Safety Committee, while Sam Pitroda will head the Railway Modernisation Panel. The Railway Minister termed the budgetary support for Railways by the Centre as "inadequate", but said the Railways will hire one lakh employees in 2012-13.