Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Saturday, presented the Union Budget for the financial year 2020-21. She made big announcements in her budget speech in the Parliament related to the railways sector. Mrs Sitharaman proposed big-budget projects for the Indian railways. She also highlighted Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry’s continued safety measures and strictness and how rail accidents have gradually come down in the past few years.
There was no word on the fares as the government already hiked fares in the beginning of this year. Came into effect from January 1, 2020, the suburban fares remained unchanged, ordinary non-AC and non-suburban fares rose by 1 paise/km of journey. The railways also announced a 2 paise/km increase in the fares of mail/express non-AC trains and 4 paise/km increase in the fares of AC classes. Indian railways premium trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani, and Duronto trains are also included in the fare increase.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced 150 private trains to run on the Indian railways network via the Public-private partnership (PPP) model and a Request for Quotation (RFQ) invite has already been issued. She has also announced for the creation of Kisan railways, with the same model, for the farmers to transport their perishable goods as railways is the biggest mode of transportation in India for the common men.
In her speech, Mrs Sitharaman said that Indian railways has equipped 550 railway stations with high-speed Wi-Fi connections for easy internet access for the passengers. Also, she has promised that the government is continuously tracking the first bullet train project in India between Ahmedabad and Mumbai for its completion on time. She added that more Tejas-type trains will be introduced on the routes for tourist places