Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented Modi-led NDA government's first full-fledged budget on Thursday.
The Railway Budget today hiked freight rates on cement, coal, foodgrain and pulses, urea, kerosene and LPG by up to 10 per cent to mop up an additional Rs 4,000 crore a year but spared passengers from any raise in fares while ruling out privatisation.
Presenting his maiden budget, the first full-fledged exercise of the Modi government, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu did not announce any new trains or lines pending a review but said he would concentrate on consolidating the existing ones.
One of the highlights is that tickets can be now be booked 120 days ahead of travel date, instead of 60 days now, to tackle tout menace.
He also said:
We are introducing ‘Operation Five Minutes’ to ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within five minutes. Provision of modified ‘hot-buttons’, coin vending machines and ‘single destination teller’ windows will drastically reduce the transaction time. For the differently-abled travellers, a special initiative is being launched whereby they can purchase concessional e-tickets after one-time registration. It is also proposed to work towards developing a multi-lingual e-ticketing portal. We will move towards crediting all refunds through the banking system.