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Railway is the nerve centre of a nation’s transportation network. The article highlights the history of Indian rail and salient features of the railway budget 2009-2010.

Railway Budget

Railway is a guided means of land transport designed to be used by trains, both passengers and freight are transported on railways. Rail transport is an extremely energy efficient means of transport. In all if the conditions are right, a train needs 50-70% less energy to transport a given tonnage of freight or to transport a given number of passengers than by road. It is also one of the safest modes of transport and also an efficient means of transport, because a rail line can carry more passengers or freight than a four laned road.

History Of Railways In India-Important Years

1832 Plans were proposed to introduce a rail network in India.
1844 Private entrepreneurs set up a private rail system in India.
1851 Trains became operational.
1853 Passenger trains were introduced.
1875 95 million pounds were invested into Indian railways by British companies.

Indian locomotives began to operate in the country.
1901 A Railway Board was established.
1907 The government obtained total control over most of the rail companies.
1908 First electric locomotive was introduced.
1947 40% of the railway network came under Pakistan's possession.
1951 Nationalization of the rail system in India took place.
1952 Six railway zones were introduced.
1995 Steam locomotives became obsolete. Only diesel and electric locomotives were operational.
1987-1995 The Indian Railways reservation system was computerized.

Indian Railway Budget: A Brief Summary
The Indian railways have one of the largest networks of trains in the world and since the first rail from Bombay to Thane stated in 1853, Indian railways has come a long way. Indian railways carry millions of passengers daily from one place to another place. The ministry of railways controls the Indian railways. Every year the ministry of railways presents the Indian railway budget in the parliament. The Budget is presented two days before the general budget. It has to be passed by the Lok Sabha before it is accepted. The rail budget deals with the improvement in the existing trains and contains details of the new trains. It also gives details about the passenger fares and tarries to be levied.

Highlights of Railway Budget 2009-10 are as follows:-

Reduced Tariffs
  • For ordinary passenger trains there is reduction in passenger fares by Rupee 1 for fares costing up to Rs 50 per passenger for journey above 10 km.
  • For all mail/express and ordinary passenger trains, second class and sleeper class fares are to be reduced by 2 per cent for tickets costing Rs 50 and more per passenger.
  • Also there is to be a fare Reduction of 2 per cent for AC First Class, AC II tier, AC III tier and AC Chair Car.
New Passenger Services
  • 43 new train services to be started in 2009-10.
  • Extension of 14 trains envisaged.
  • Frequency of 14 trains is to be increased.
Indian Railways' Financial Health During The Year 2008-09
  • Freight loading target was retained at 850 mt.
  • Ordinary Working Expenses (OWE) increased to Rs 55,000 crore (Rs 550 billion) in the R.E and the appropriation to Pension Fund to Rs 10,500 crore (Rs 105 billion). This is done keeping in view the increased financial burden due to implementation of VI Central Pay Commission.
  • Revised plan outlay kept at Rs 36,773 crore (Rs 367.73 billion).
  • Cash surplus before dividend projected at Rs 19,320 crore (Rs 193.20 billion) and the Operating Ratio at 88.3% despite implementation of the VI CPC.
  • Appropriation to DRF retained at Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 billion).
  • Dividend payable to General Revenues kept at Rs 4,711 crore (Rs 47.11 billion).
Indian Railway's Performance Review
  • Tripura's capital Agartala is now connected by railway line.
  • Kashmir Valley's first train service commenced between Anantnag and Rajwansher. This is to be followed by extension of rail services to Baramulla and Qazigund.
  • The number of consequential accidents has come down to 194.
  • Work on Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor commenced near Delhi on 10th February, 2009 while Work on Western DFC to commence this month.
  • completion of successful trials for running electric locomotives with OHE at a height of about 7.5 mts in preparation for running double stack containers on electrified Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.
Indian Railway Budget Estimates For The Year 2009-10
  • Freight loading targeted at 910 mt while number of passengers estimated to grow by around 7%.
  • Budgeted Operating Ratio 89.9%.
  • Plan outlay kept at Rs 37,905 crore (Rs 379.05 billion).
  • Gross Traffic Receipts estimated at Rs 93,159 crore (Rs 931.59 billion) i.e. Rs 10,766 crore (Rs 107.66 billion) more than RE 2008-09.
  • Ordinary Working Expenses (OWE) budgeted at Rs 62,900 crore (Rs 629 billion) to cover the full year impact of VI CPC and the payment of 60% arrears due in 2009-10.
  • Dividend payable to General Revenues kept at Rs 5,304 crore (Rs 53.04 billion) at the current applicable rates.
Other Announcements Of Railway Budget 2009-10
  • New railway divisions at Bhagalpur and Thawe will be set up to facilitate improved train operations.
  • 25 surveys proposed comprising 14 for new lines, 3 for gauge conversion and 28 for doubling projects.
  • For running high speed bullet trains, a pre-feasibility study is being pursued.
  • Bharat Wagon Limited (Mokama & Muzaffarpur) is transferred to the Ministry of Railways; transfer of wagon units of Burn Standard at Burnpur and Howrah are also under consideration on the same lines.
  • Construction of Rail Wheel Factory, Chapra is on in full swing.
  • Work on diesel and electric locomotive factories at Marhoura and Madhepura will start soon.

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