The Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is set to present his second railway budget of the Narendra Modi led government . Hence all eyes on will be on the mild mannered Railway minister as to what are his ambitious plans to revive the flagging lifeline of the nation. While the Union Railway Minister is likely to announce special trains with higher fares, a new catering policy with focus on e-catering could also be announced in the much anticipated budget.
While there are hosts of likely announcements , according to various media reports coming in Mumbai is expected to get air conditioned suburban trains. Prabhu is also expected to make an announcement on green stations besides addition of new bogies in Express and fast trains.
A new advertising policy to increase revenue is also likely while a reduction in freight rates is also expected. While falling revenues and increasing demand for funding various capacity augmentation projects demand a hike in passenger fares, the government may mull over it as elections in four states are around the corner.
The cross-subsidy from freight to passenger operation has crossed Rs 30,000 crore this year while the Seventh Pay Commission burden is about Rs 32,000 crore.
Despite the grim economic condition, the Railway Budget is expected to increase capital expenditure to enable massive capacity creation. Besides that the area of main focus will be on safety upgradation, electrification and doubling to clear traffic bottleneck.