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Six Reasons To Cheer About The New Railway Budget

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For the first time in history, India’s Railway Budget was announced this morning alongside the Union Budget 2017-18. The plan includes a 22% rise in the Railways Budget with the total capital and developmental expenditure set at Rs 1.31 lakh crore for the railways in 2017-18, including Rs 55,000 crore that will be provided by the government.

The four main priorities the government has set out for the Railways are passenger safety, development work, cleanliness and a reform in railway accounts.

Keeping in line with these stated objectives, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rolled out what has largely been described as a ‘populist budget’ that is kinder to the common man still recovering from the shock of demonetisation.

Here are the highlights:

1. New Rail Safety Fund

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 1.57.58 pm
Rashtriya Rail Suraksha Kosh will be established over a period of 5 years, with a corpus of Rs 100,000 crore.

2. No More Service Tax

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 1.58.19 pm
Tickets booked through the IRCTC will no longer be privy to a service charge.

3. Disabled-Friendly

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

As many as 500 rail stations will be made differently abled-friendly by the provision of lifts and escalators.

4. Bio-Focus

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By 2019, all coaches of the Indian Railways will be fitted with bio-toilets and bio-tyres.

5. Goodbye Unmanned Crossings

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 1.57.34 pm By 2020, all unmanned railway level crossings will be done away with.

6. Launch of a New Service

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The superfast Antyodaya Express will soon be set up with unreserved, second class service.

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