February 26th, 2013

Railway Budget likely, ‘Budget of future’

New Delhi: Railway Budget 2013-14 to be presented in Parliament tomorrow is likely to be a Budget for the future, with emphasis on modernisation and better passenger amenities.
The Budget to be presented by Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is likely to focus on Public- Private Partnerships, especially for upgradation of Railway Stations.
There is an expectation that Bansal may announce the starting of half a dozen semi-Bullet trains. These are trains which have a speed of 100 km to 200 km per hour.
There is speculation that Bansal may carry out a fare hike-whether direct or indirect- rationalisation of freight charges, and special focus on speeding up the development of freight corridors, which have been slow due to paucity of funds.
There is likely to be special focus on the development of Railways in the North East.
After 17 years, a Congress Minister is in charge of the Railways, thus there is a view that Congress-ruled states may get some attention.
This is the Last Railway Budget before the General Elections and thus there can be announcement of populist measures such as the enhancement of the number of trains.
Railway Budget 2013-14 may not be controversial as was the case last year, when the then Minister Dinesh Trivedi had to lose his job as he raised fares, which was not to the liking of his boss Mamata Banerjee.

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