Rail Budget 2013-14 to be presented on Tuesday

Rail Budget 2013-14 to be presented on Tuesday Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi: Railway Budget 2013-14 will be presented in the Parliament by the Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on February 26, 2013, Tuesday.

This will be Bansal’s maiden Rail Budget and it is expected that he will announce the introduction of about 100 trains, including AC double deckers, new passenger services and extension of services to cater to the demands of various states in the Rail Budget 2013-14.

As far as rolling stock programme is concerned, the announcement will be made for manufacturing of 4200 new coaches including 600 LHB coaches in the Rail Budget.

While provision for manufacturing of 670 new locomotives including 20 LNG locos will be made, the budget will also account for manufacturing of about 16,000 new wagons.

Railways has come under fresh pressure to further hike passenger fares, at least in a small way, and revise freight rate in the wake of virtual decontrol of diesel price but whether Railway Minister P K Bansal bites the bullet in the Rail Budget remains to be seen.

Bansal is likely to announce a slew of passenger-friendly measures such as improvement in catering service, development of stations and launching of about 100 new trains in his maiden budget on February 26.

All attention will be, however, on passenger fares as Bansal had recently told reporters that the increase in diesel price following the fare hike has negated the additional revenue which Railways expected to mop up by Rs 3,300 crore.

Cash-strapped Railways had effected passenger fare hike across the board by 21 percent on January 22, aiming to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 6,600 crore.

Bansal has had several round of discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the Planning Commission in connection with the Rail Budget. He is also understood have discussed the possibility of fare hike with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

However, sources said a section inside the Congress is not inclined towards effecting another round of hike as general elections are not far away.

The budget could also see some tinkering in freight rates despite resistance from the industry in the wake of slow economy growth.

With PTI Inputs