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India Rail Budget 2016 Highlights

Just finished reading highlights of the Rail budget (sorry! I am little slow); here are some forward looking initiatives I noted. Prabhu is doing a good job!

  1. Draft Bill on regulator - Restructuring Railway Board on business lines 
  2. Sale of platform tickets through ticket vending machines both cash and card compatible 
  3. Facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline using ‘One Time Password’ 
  4. ‘Clean my Coach’ service through SMS 
  5. Periodic third party audit of stations of A1 & A category 
  6. Cold storage facilities on vacant land near freight terminals 
  7. Rail side logistic parks and warehousing
  8. Appointing Key Customer Managers to liaison with our major freight stakeholders 
  9. Hourly booking of retiring rooms to be allowed instead of the existing minimum of 12 hours. 
  10. Baby foods, hot milk and hot water to be made available on stations 
  11. Changing boards for babies would be provided in train toilets. 
  12. CCTV cameras would continue to be installed in coaches 
  13. Wi-Fi at 400 stations in next two years 
  14. Rs. 50 crore for innovation grant 
  15. Monetizing soft assets such as data, software and some of the free services such as PNR enquiry, e-commerce activities on IRCTC website
Overall this budget has taken steps in the direction of making Indian Railways a progressive organization like I have recommended on this blog. I am glad some of the ideas which I shared here have come to fruition with the Modi Government; Drutgamini will become a reality with Bullet train, a lot in this budget (like move towards business lines, dedicated customer managers and holding co for Railway PSUs) was covered in my post on need for reform; I do hope that by the time Suresh Prabhu's term ends, Indian Railways is the world's leading Affordable and Progressive rail networks!

I don't mean to take credit here - Modi government has more able people who must have come up with these ideas; just that feels good to be vindicated!

And one last thing; it would have been better not to club baby needs (items 10 and 11 in the above list) under 'For Women' - is taking care of babies only a headache for Women. I confess I might have never done Baby diaper change while in a train, but Dad's do (occasionally if you may) care about their kids food and sometimes do change diapers as well! 

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