RailTel Turns 1600 Railway Stations across country into RailWire Wi-Fi zone

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: 1600 stations across the country now have fast and free RailWire Wi-Fi provided by RailTel. Santacruz railway station on suburban section of Mumbai became the 1600th station in the country to have public Wi-Fi. In order to fulfil the promise of bringing fast and free Wi-Fi at all Railway stations (except the halt stations) within a year, team RailTel is tirelessly working to achieve the target.

Talking about the Wi-Fi provided by RailTel, Shri Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway said “Mumbai suburban Railway has seen major milestones being achieved for the Railway Station Wi-Fi project. The journey of RailWire station Wi-fi started from Mumbai Central . Reay Road became the 1000th station couple of days back and now Santacruz station has been declared as the 1600th station in the country to have fast free RailWire Wi-Fi. This Wi-Fi is a boon for millions of passengers commuting through Suburban Railways everyday”.

Speaking about the Wi-Fi service at stations, Shri Puneet Chawla, CMD/RailTel said, ‘ Providing public Wi-Fi at 24X7 crowded stations are a huge challenge and unprecedented in India. But with an experienced and dedicated team, we have managed to complete 1600 stations today. And with the current pace of execution we are confident of completing the project well within time.’ RailTel has provided high speed Wi-Fi at 985 stations with own/other funding and at 415 A, A1 and C category stations, associating Google as the Technology partner for Radio Access, while using the RailTel backbone for broadband connectivity. RailTel has also completed work of providing Wi-Fi to 200 stations with support of Universal Service Obligatory Fund of GoI. RailTel started providing the free public Wi-Fi service at Indian railway stations with a vision of turning Railway stations into a platform for Digital inclusion.In the next phase RailTel has roped in Tata Trust for providing Wi-Fi at remaining 4791 B,C,D and E category stations across the country. The idea behind providing free Wi-Fi to these very small stations catering to mainly rural/low population density areas is to provide the people with state of the art Wi-Fi facility. Easy and low-cost availability of smart phones in the market coupled with free Wi-Fi at railway stations in rural area will go a long way in the digital growth for rural India. While private operators finds it hard to create telecom infrastructure in Rural areas due to high CAPEX involved, RailTel is penetrating the hinterland of the country to bring state-of-the-art  Telecom Infra for the rural population bridging the digital divide of urban and rural India..

Free Wi-Fi services to passengers are being provided under ‘RailWire’- the retail Broadband initiative of RailTel. Designed to offer users the best Internet experience, RailWire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a smartphone with working mobile connection for KYC considerations. To use the Wi-Fi the user has to switch on the Wi-Fi mode in the smartphone and select the RailWire Wi-Fi network. After the RailWire homepage network automatically appears on the smartphone, the user has to enter his or her mobile number on this homepage. The user will get one-time password (OTP) in form of SMS in the message box which has to be entered in the home page of RailWire. After entering OTP Users will be able to access high speed internet & can start internet browsing.

रेलटेल ने  देश भर में 1600 रेलवे स्टेशनों को  रेलवायर वाई-फाई ज़ोन में परिवर्तित किया

पश्चिम रेलवे का सांताक्रुज ऐसा 1600 वाँ स्टेशन बना

600 स्टेशनों का कार्य 10  दिनों में पूरा हुआ 

मुंबई – देश भर में 1600 स्टेशन अब रेलटेल द्वारा उपलब्ध कराये गये तीव्र एवं मुफ्त रेलवॉयर वाई-फाईसे लैस हैं मुंबई की उपनगरीय लाइन में सांताक्रुज रेलवे स्टेशन देश का ऐसा 1600 वाँ स्टेशन है, जहाँसार्वजनिक वाई-फाई उपलब्ध है। एक वर्ष के भीतर सभी रेलवे स्टेशनों (हॉल्ट स्टेशनों को छोड़कर) पर तीव्र और मुफ्त वाई-फाई लाने के वादे को पूरा करने के लिए रेलटेल टीम अथक प्रयास कर रही है।

पश्चिम रेलवे के मुख्य जनसम्पर्क अधिकारी श्री रविंद्र भाकर ने इस सम्बंध में बताया कि “मुंबई उपनगरीय रेल खंड पर वाई-फाई परियोजना के कई मुख्‍य लक्ष्‍य हासिल किये गये हैं। रेलवायर स्टेशनवाई-फाई की यात्रा मुंबई सेंट्रल से शुरू हुई थी। फिर कुछ दिनों पहले रे रोड  1000 वाँ स्टेशन बन गया और अब सांताक्रुज को देश के तीव्र मुफ्त वाई-फाई वाले 1600 वें स्टेशन के रूप में घोषित किया गया है,जिसमें फास्ट रेलवायर वाई-फाई है। यह वाई-फाई प्रतिदिन उपनगरीय ट्रेनों के माध्यम से आने-जाने वाले लाखों यात्रियों के लिए एक वरदान है।” स्टेशनों पर वाई-फाई सेवा के बारे में बात करते हुए रेलटेल केअध्यक्ष एवं प्रबंध निदेशक श्री पुनीत चावला ने बताया कि ‘भारतीय रेलवे के स्टेशनों जैसे 24 X 7 भीड़-भाड़ वाले स्थान पर सार्वजनिक वाई-फाई उपलब्ध कराना एक बहुत बड़ी चुनौती है और यह भारत जैसे देशके लिए अभूतपूर्व है, लेकिन एक अनुभवी और समर्पित टीम के साथ हमने आज 1600 स्टेशनों को पूरा करने में कामयाबी हासिल की है और निष्पादन की वर्तमान गति से हम परियोजना को समय सीमा के भीतरअच्छी तरह पूरा करने के लिए आश्वस्त हैं’।

रेलटेल ने ब्रॉडबैंड कनेक्टिविटी के लिए रेलटेल बैकबोन का उपयोग करते हुए, रेडियो एक्सेस के लिए प्रौद्योगिकी भागीदार के रूप में गूगल को सम्बद्ध करके, 415 ए, ए 1 और सी श्रेणी के स्टेशनों पर उच्च गति वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध करायी  है।ग्रामीण और शहरी भारत के बीच डिजिटल विभाजन को पाटने के उद्देश्य से रेलटेल ने ग्रामीण रेलवे स्टेशनों पर भी वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध कराना शुरू किया। ये छोटे स्टेशन ग्रामीण आबादी को सेवित करने वाले हैं, जिन पर अत्याधुनिक दूरसंचार अवसंरचनासुविधाओं की पहुँच नहीं है। रेलटेल ने भारत सरकार के यूनिवर्सल सर्विस ऑब्लिगेटरी फंड के समर्थन से 200 स्‍टेशनों पर वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध कराने का कार्य पहले ही पूरा कर लिया और स्वयं/अन्य के वित्त पोषण से 985 स्टेशनों का कार्य पूरा कर लिया है।रेलटेल ने डिजिटल समावेश के लिए रेलवे स्टेशनों को एक मंच में परिवर्तित करने के विज़न के साथ भारतीय रेलवे स्‍टेशनों पर मुफ्त सार्वजनिक वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध कराना शुरू किया है। अगले चरण में रेलटेल  देश भर के शेष 4791 बी, सी, डी और ई श्रेणीके स्टेशनों पर वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध कराने के लिए टाटा ट्रस्ट को सहयोगी बनाया है। इन बहुत छोटे स्टेशनों पर मुफ्त वाई-फाई उपलब्‍ध कराने के पीछे मुख्य रूप से धारणा यह है कि ग्रामीण/ कम जनसंख्या घनत्व वाले क्षेत्रों में  लोगों को सेवित करकेअत्याधुनिक वाई-फाई सुविधा उपलब्‍ध कराना।  ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में रेलवे स्टेशनों पर मुफ्त वाई-फाई के साथ बाजार में स्मार्ट फोन की आसान और कम लागत वाली उपलब्धता  ग्रामीण भारत के लिए डिजिटल विकास की दिशा  में एक लम्बी दूरी तय करेगी,जबकि निजी ऑपरेटरों को अधिक पूँजीगत व्‍यय के कारण ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में दूरसंचार अवसंरचना का निर्माण करना मुश्किल लगता है, रेलटेल शहरी और ग्रामीण भारत की डिजिटल खाई को पाटने के लिए ग्रामीण आबादी को अत्‍याधुनिक टेलीकॉम इन्‍फ्राउपलब्‍ध करा  रहा है। यात्रियों को वाई-फाई सेवाएं ‘ रेलवायर  ब्रॉंड’ के अंतर्गत दी जा रही हैं – यह रेलटेल की खुदरा ब्रॉडबैंड पहल है। इसे उपयोगकर्ताओं को सर्वश्रेष्ठ इंटरनेट अनुभव प्रदान करने के लिए डिज़ाइन किया गया, रेलवॉयर वाई-फाई प्रत्‍येकउस उपयोगकर्ता के लिए उपलब्ध होगी, जिसके पास केवाईसी प्रमाणित मोबाइल कनेक्शन वाला स्‍मार्ट फोन उपलब्‍ध है। वाई-फाई का उपयोग करने के लिए ‘ उपयोगकर्ता को स्मार्टफोन में वाई-फाई मोड पर स्विच करना होगा और रेलवायर वाई-फाईनेटवर्क का चयन करना होगा । इसके बाद रेलवायर मुख पृष्ठ नेटवर्क स्वचालित रूप से स्मार्टफोन पर दिखाई देगा। उपयोगकर्ता को इस मुख पृष्ठ पर अपना मोबाइल नम्बर डालना है।  उपयोगकर्ता को संदेश बॉक्स में एसएमएस के रूप में वन-टाइमपासवर्ड (ओटीपी) मिलेगा, जिसे रेलवायर के होम पेज में दर्ज करना होगा। अब उपयोगकर्ता उच्च गति इंटरनेट का उपयोग करने में सक्षम हो जायेंगे और इंटरनेट ब्राउज़िंग शुरू कर सकते हैं।

Equipment Failure at IR raises Questions over Long-Term Safety Strategy

The incidents fall into a number of different categories: rail fracture, train parting, signal and weld failure among others.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has witnessed a significant number of equipment failures between April 2018 and January 2019, according to internal government data, raising questions over the national transporter’s safety strategy.

The incidents fall into a number of different categories: ‘rail fracture’, ‘train parting’, signal and weld failure among others.

There were also 2,313 cases of over head electric (OHE) failure and 97,520 cases of signal failure reported up to January 2019, according to railways data.

The data revealed that ‘coach detachment’ was recorded 1,302 times. Wagon detachment was recorded in 2,059 incidents while cases of ‘train parting’ were reported 643 times across the country, causing localised disruptions in railway operations.

In January alone, 60 cases of train parting and 201 cases of wagon detachment were reported.

Train parting, coach and wagon detachment are all caused by what is called a ‘coupling break’, a serious safety concern for railways.

There were 3,001 rail fractures and 1,633 weld failures reported up to January 2019, a total of 4,634 incidents. In comparison, in FY’18, there were 4,369 record instances of rail and weld fracture. In FY’17, 3,546 such incidents were reported.

From April 2018 to January 2019 (nine months), there were also 468 cases of ‘hot axle’ incidents that were reported. When the bearing becomes hot, it causes the axles to overheat, leading to an accident. In comparison, in the previous two years, there were 521 (FY’17) and 453 (FY’18) hot axle issues.

On the diesel and electric front, there were 11,460 cases of electric locomotive failure and 9,054 cases of diesel locomotive failure up to January 2019.

The Central Railway reported the maximum number of electric loco incidents (2,304) while North Western Railway had the maximum diesel engine failures (1,367). In January alone, 21 cases of auxiliary transformer failure and ten cases of grid failure were reported.

There were five fire incidents, 43 derailment cases, six accidents at level crossings – three each at unmanned and manned level crossings – in the current fiscal.

In order to prevent accidents, the national transporter has undertaken a series of steps including signal upgradation and elimination of unmanned level crossings across the country, said a senior railway ministry official.

Besides this, track renewal is being carried out in almost all sections to prevent rail and weld fractures, the official added. However, repeated equipment failures have caused a serious setback in the railways’ safety drive.

Under previous railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the ministry kicked off ‘Kaya Kalp’ an exercise aimed at suggesting “improvements and innovation”. It primarily involved a committee headed by Ratan Tata – media reports from 2015 noted that the panel would “develop an action plan to reduce recurring train mishaps”.

However, when incumbent minister Piyush Goyal took charge at Rail Bhawan, the Kaya Kalp initiative was sidelined even though the committee had come out with some proposals and held six meetings that were presided over by Tata and attended by senior railway officials.

Indian Railways sets new Make in India record! Over 6,000 Coaches manufactured in FY:18-19

Making a new record, Piyush Goyal led-Indian Railways manufactured a total of 6037 Coaches the financial year 2018-19 against the production of 4,470 coaches (previous record) during FY 2017-18. The growth in Coach Production is 35 per cent more than the previous financial year. By flagging off a rake of 22 coaches recently, the MCF in Raebareli, the unit also registered a record production of as many as 1425 coaches in the financial year 2018-2019!

NEW DELHI: Big ‘Make in India’ achievement by Indian Railways! All the three coach factories of Indian Railways namely, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Modern Coach Factory (MCF) and Rail Coach Factory (RCF) have ended the financial year 2018-2019 on a high note. Making a new record, Piyush Goyal led-Indian Railways manufactured a total of 6037 coaches this financial year against the production of 4,470 coaches (previous record) last year. The growth in coach production this year is 35 per cent more than the last financial year.

The record in coach production has been achieved despite compelling all units to diversify to all variants, frequent changes throughout the year, interrupting production to produce power, pantry, other cars and many new products in train-set, LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch), EMU (Electric Multiple Unit), MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit), special category including Vande Bharat Express.

Recently, the ICF in Chennai secured itself among the largest railcar builders in the world. It also surpassed China’s top manufacturers who manufacture around 2,600 coaches a year.

Meanwhile, by flagging off a rake of 22 coaches recently, the MCF in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh registered a record production of as many as 1425 coaches in the financial year 2018-2019, beating the given target. In the year 2017-2018, the target of 710 coaches was surpassed by the production of 711 coaches. This year as well, the MCF surpassed the target of 1422 coaches by manufacturing a total of 1425 coaches which is more than double of last financial year. Interestingly, in this financial year, the MCF has also manufactured new types of coaches namely- AC Pantry (Hot Buffet) Car, Under Slung Power Car, Non Air-Conditioned Chair Car and Track Recording Car for RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation). With an increase in coach production and also by increasing variety of coaches manufactured, the MCF is achieving new heights nationally as well as internationally.

Also, earlier this year it was reported that the MCF has manufactured as many as 152 LHB coaches in the month of January 2019, its highest ever. With new heights being achieved in coach production, all three coach factories are poised to perform even much better in the financial year 2019-2020.

Advance Earnings from Big Freight Players helps Railways tide over Operating Ratio Crisis

Under the new freight advance policy, the railways had hoped to get Rs 14,000-15,000 crore before the end of 2018-2019 fiscal.

NEW DELHI: Just before the end of the 2018-2019 financial year, the Indian Railways has engaged in a spot of financial engineering to help rein in its dismal operating ratio.

Facing a tough scenario on the finances front, the national transporter on March 9 came out with a freight advance scheme – a policy that asks major freight customers to avail a tariff freeze for a year against advance payment to the railways.

Customers who agree to pay a freight advance in the last quarter of a financial year – to cover their estimated freight up to the end of the next financial year – will have the benefit of a fixed base rate till the end of the next fiscal, the new policy circular stated.

In the Interim Budget speech, railway minister Piyush Goyal, who as the acting finance minister in the absence of Arun Jaitley, had announced in the Lok Sabha that the Indian Railways would aim to hit a fiscal operating ratio (OR) of 96.2% for 2018-19.

Since the ratio – a metric that describes an organisation’s expenses as a percentage of revenue – is a measure of its financial health, the improved target was welcome news.

However, the prevailing scenario is far from normal with OR hovering above 100%. With the 2018-19 fiscal year coming to an end, the railways needed at least Rs 15,000 crore to keep the operating ratio under the 100%-mark and present a decent picture of the fiscal situation, sources in the Railways’ Financial Directorate told The Wire.

The railways aimed to improve OR from 98.4% in 2017-18 to 96.2% in 2018-19 and to 95% in 2019-20. The new freight policy envisages that customers should have minimum annual freight revenue of Rs 500 crore to avail the scheme. Consequently, there are nearly 50 eligible entities including state-run firms like NTPC and SAIL and railways PSUs such as CONCOR.

According to sources, railways is aiming to get Rs 10,000 crore from NTPC and Rs 4,500 crore from CONCOR. It has received Rs 3,000 crore as on March 26 from CONCOR and is expecting the rest in due course. NTPC was also in the process of bailing out railways with a bulk advance payment before the current financial year came to an end on Monday (April 1)

According to the Financial Directorate, the railways had initiated similar special measures last year as well in order to earn revenue in advance from NTPC and IRCON – a railway PSU – to make the operating ratio presentable.

This year though, on March 9, the national transporter came out with a concrete policy to make this practice a regular business rule.

The practice of advance revenue earnings is also prevalent in the passenger business as railways earns a significant revenue through advance ticket bookings (up to 120 days before the journey).

The operating ratio had touched the 110.83% mark by the end of December 2018, and improved to 105.4% by the end of January 2019, according to review prepared by the national transporter’s financial wing. Since the operating ratio was still above the promised mark, the only option left was to carry out financial engineering by showing next year’s earning as the current financial year earning, sources added.

The operating ratio is a gauge of operational efficiency that measures expenses as a proportion of revenue. Besides working expenses, there are other expenditures – including pension liability, expenditure of the Railway Board and railway institutions which far exceeds earnings.

A higher ratio also indicates less ability to generate surplus funds that could be used for capital investments such as laying new lines and manufacturing more coaches. Despite many new services like Tejas, Humsafar and the recently-introduced Vande Bharat Express, the loss in the passenger business is about Rs 30,000 crore.

Non-fare revenue from the station redevelopment project and advertisements have also not met expectations. Goyal made the highest ever capital-expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 lakh crore for the railways in the Interim Budget while leaving passenger fares and freight rates unchanged ahead of the general elections this year.

He allocated Rs 7,255 crore for construction of new lines, Rs 2,200 crore for gauge conversion, Rs 700 crore for doubling of tracks, Rs 6,114.82 crore for rolling stock and Rs 1,750 crore for signalling and telecom.

The capital support from the Budget for the railways is proposed to be Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20. The gross budget estimates under revenue for the year 2019-20 is Rs 2,72,705.68 crore, recording an increase of Rs 22,854.67 crore over the revised estimates for 2018-19.

ADB to extend $750-millon Loan to push Indian Railways’ Electrification drive

The ADB debt financing is likely to be structured as a standard secured project finance loan for a tenor of 20 years. In March last year the ADB and the Indian Railways signed a loan agreement for availing the third tranche of $120 min in a multi tranche financing facility of $500 mn.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways will raise a $750-million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) to finance part of its electrification drive.

The national transporter has lined up an electrification drive covering 28,000 km in the next three financial years — 7,000 km in 2019-20 and 10,500 km each in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively.

This will entail an expenditure of $6-7 billion. The ADB loan will be used for electrifying around 3,378 km, involving at least 16 sub-projects in 13 states.

The national transporter has approached the Election Commission to get the clearance on this. “In a week we are expected to sign a final deal with the ADB for a non-sovereign project finance loan for the ongoing electrification process. Based on the ongoing talks, the interest rates are likely to be 1.25 basis points (bps) higher than the acquiring rate of the ADB,” said a government official.

IRFC is the wholly owned financial arm of the Indian Railways.

The government’s plan to opt for divesting its stake in IRFC failed to take off last year after the World Bank’s agency Multi-Lateral Investment Guarantee (MIGA) backed out of providing an investment guarantee for raising at least $500 million from international private sector investors and lenders. Following this, the listing plan was put on hold.

The ADB debt financing is likely to be structured as a standard secured project finance loan for a tenor of 20 years, comprising a four-year availability period and a 16-year repayment period.

In March last year the ADB and the Indian Railways signed a loan agreement for availing the third tranche of $120 million in a multi tranche financing facility of $500 million for developing five projects.

This included Daund-Gulbarga Doubling (224 km), Sambalpur-Titlagarh Doubling (182 km), Raipur-Titlagarh Doubling (203 km), Hospet-Tinaighat Doubling (201 km) and Pune-Wadi Guntakal Electrification (641 km).

“The current loan of $750 million will be used for new electrification projects only. We have written to the Election Commission for clearance,” the official added.

For electrification, the Ministry of Railways has entrusted its in-house agencies like Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, and railways zonal offices.

Following the launch of the Mission Electrification program in November 2016 with the intention to electrify 38,000 route km by FY22, the Indian Railway Construction Company Ltd, Rail India Techno Economic Service Ltd and the Power Grid Corporation of India were also roped in to speed up the process.

ADB-funded electrification works are expected to create around 4,500 additional jobs annually. Based on an estimate, at least 24,100 million passenger gross tonnage km (GTKM) and 32,200 million freight GTKM may be provided annually by electric traction on the newly electrified routes funded by the ADB.

The move for 100 per cent electrification of Indian tracks is expected to save at least Rs 13,000 crore on the national transporter’s fuel bill.

Despite carrying 65 per cent of all freight and 51 per cent of the passenger load of the Indian Railways, electric traction accounts for only 36 per cent of the energy bill, with diesel accounting for the balance.

Indian Railways, GAIL sign MoU for use of Natural Gas in Railway Workshops

Indian Railways said that out of 54 workshops and production units, 23 workshops had been identified in the first phase for replacement of industrial gases with natural gas.

NEW DELHI: State-owned natural gas transmission utility GAIL (India) on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Railways to create infrastructure for supplying natural gas to the transporter’s workshops, production units, depots and residential colonies.

“This MoU is a broad-based in principle agreement between GAIL and Indian Railways for creation of infrastructure and supply of compressed natural gas (CNG), piped natural gas (PNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for both industrial and domestic purposes,” Indian Railways said in a statement.

It added that out of 54 workshops and production units, 23 workshops had been identified in the first phase for replacement of industrial gases with natural gas.

The transporter said the agreement would help replace industrial gases — dissolved acetylene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), bharat metal cutting gas (BMCG), furnace oil and high speed diesel (HSD) — with natural gas.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohaniand GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi.

Lohani said the workshops would start using natural gas by 31 December 2018, adding the remaining workshops, PUs, railway establishments and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation’s base kitchens would start using gas by 30 June 2019.

Railways said that natural gas has the potential to replace about 8,44,027 cubic meter of acetylene, 2,35,4425 kg of LPG, 1,40,991 kg of BMCG and 5,500 kl of HSD or furnace oil worth Rs 70 crore per annum, saving the transporter about Rs 20 crore per annum.

IRSDC signs MoU with State Bank of India for Project Financing

NEW DELHI: Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), a Joint Venture Public Limited Company of IRCON International Limited (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with State Bank of India (SBI), country’s largest Public Sector Bank and SBI Capital Markets Limited (SBICAP), India’s leading Investment Bank and Project Advisor, for financing of the project cost towards redevelopment/ development of some identified stations.

Mr. Vishwesh Choubey, Chairman – IRSDC & Member Engineering – Railway Board, Mr. O P Singh, Principle Executive Director  – Station Development – Ministry of Railways, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, MD & CEO -IRSDC, Mr. Arjit Basu, MD – SBI, Mr. Prabodh Parikh, CGM – SBI, Mr. Mukul Modi, SVP, PA& SF – SBICAP and other dignitaries were present during the MoU signing ceremony.

Station redevelopment and commercial exploitation of airspace above stations and surrounding railway land has a potential of generating very high revenue surplus besides transforming the customer experience. This is a mammoth programme requiring initial capital investments to the tune of Rs 1,00,000 crore and extensive involvement of all stakeholders i.e. Railway Passengers, Engineers, Urban Planners, Architects and other professionals besides the Contractors and Developers.

IRSDC, the nodal agency for redevelopment/ development of railway stations in India, plans to execute the work in a phased manner and proposes to initially develop approximately 50 stations, part funding for which is proposed to be raised in form of term loans. Accordingly, IRSDC, SBI and SBICAP have agreed to enter into a MoU. SBICAP would act as the Advisor cum Arranger for tying up the Facility. Under the MoU, IRSDC, SBI and SBICAP will cooperate for achieving the following objectives:

  • To arrive at a broad understanding for the funding transaction on the basis of identified stations and commercial development of adjoining land parcels.
  • To achieve a funding mechanism which is optimal to the needs of both IRSDC and SBI.
  • To tie up fund requirement towards the redevelopment/ development of stations.

IRSDC has been entrusted all stations by Ministry of Railways for undertaking Techno-economic feasibility studies, master plans and business plans to undertake development/redevelopment of the stations. The Company is undertaking the work of development/re-development of the existing /new railway station(s) which will consist of upgrading the level of passenger amenities by new constructions/renovations including re-development of the station buildings, platform surfaces, circulating area, etc., to better standards so as to serve the need of the passengers. It will also undertake project for development of real estate on Railway/Government land and its commercial utilization as may be required in connection with development of railway stations.

Indian Railways-RailTel sign MoU to implement e-office system

e-Office project is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the national e-governance programme of the government.

NEW DELHI: An MoU was signed on March 8 between Indian Railways and public sector telecom firm RailTel for implementing the e-office system aimed at digitising the work of the national transporter.

RailTel, a Miniratna PSU under the Ministry of Railways, has taken up the work of implementing the e-office system for Indian Railways, an official statement said.

E-Office project is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the national e-governance programme of the government.

The project aims to usher in more efficient, effective and transparent inter-government and intra-government transactions and processes, the statement said.

NTPC signs pact with Indian Railways for Fly Ash transportation

NTPC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hazipur-based East Central Railway Zone for transportation of fly ash under Indian Railways’ Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO) scheme.

NEW DELHI: State-run NTPC on Thursday said it has teamed up with the Indian Railways for fly ash transportation, a move that will help enhance ash utilisation at Rihand and Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power plants.

NTPC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hazipur-based East Central Railway Zone for transportation of fly ash under Indian Railways’ Special Freight Train Operator (SFTO) scheme.

According to the company statement, NTPC has became the first entity in the country to sign an SFTO agreement with Indian Railways. “At NTPC, sustainable ash utilisation is one of the key focus areas for us as part of our commitment to safeguard the environment. Ash is now also looked at as a commodity, which can translate into steady revenue stream for the company in the long run,” said P K Sinha, ED (EMG, AM and Safety) NTPC. The pact with Indian Railways for fly ash transportation will help enhance ash utilisation at Rihand and Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power plants and it will be further extended to other NTPC projects.

“We decided to go with Indian Railways since it has the necessary capability to transport fly ash in bulk in the region at a lower cost,” Sinha added.

Fly ash will be transported by Bogey Tank For Alumina Powder (BTAP) rakes, which are leak proof wagons with special air fluidizing system. As part of the agreement, NTPC has procured three BTAP rakes and each rake will have a capacity of 3,060 tonne ash. The first of the three rakes is expected to arrive by October 2019.

The signing of the MoU with Indian Railways is a definitive step towards further enhancing fly ash utilisation limit at NTPC plants. Further, it will ease sourcing of raw materials for downstream industries in the region.

K K Singh, Regional Executive Director, Northern Region, NTPC signed the MoU on behalf of the company in Patna on Wednesday.

Topography, soil and natural challenges hindrance in laying rail tracks in NE: says CRS/NE Circle

AGARTALA: Indian Railways, besides incurring additional costs, has had to confront unique challenges in laying tracks in the mountainous northeastern region due to its topography, soil and natural challenges, according to Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS-NE Circle) Shailesh Kumar Pathak.

Pathak who was in Agartala, the capital of Tripura on Wednesday, the landscape, soil conditions and other natural challenges forced the railways to spend much more money and to confront diverse challenges in the northeastern region, comprising eight hilly states.

He maintained that compared to the northeastern region, the spending and the challenges are much less in the mainland states after examining newly-laid railway tracks in Tripura.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), one among the 17 railway zones in India, is responsible for extending the railway lines and maintaining train services in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts in north Bihar, besides the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim.

Pathak, a senior engineer of the Civil Aviation Ministry also said that the NFR gets to work at optimum pace for only four to five months a year as the region records intense rain from March to end-October with the actual monsoon running from June to September.

He further added that in the other states of the country, the good working season is for at least eight months.

He also said that the northeastern states and large parts of the Himalayan region are siltation and landslide-prone areas.

The Railways has to take extra precautions to deal with the natural adversities in the region.

According to the official, the per-kilometre expenditure of laying single-line tracks in the northeastern region is Rs 9 to 12 crore while it is Rs 5 to 6 crore in the plains. Laying a double-line track in the northeast costs Rs 20 to 25 crores per kilometre against Rs 10 to 15 crore in the plains.

The top officials further remarked that land acquisition, forest clearances, syndicate trouble and finding skilled workers are the other impediments in the northeastern and eastern region.

He also disclosed that the NFR has been trying hard to extend the railway lines in three remaining capital cities of northeast India, excluding Meghalaya’s Shillong and Sikkim’s Gangtok, by 2020.

Nepal to use Chinese Gauge for its Railway, not the one India uses!

China has in recent years been more active in projects in a country India has long seen as in its sphere of influence.

KATHMANDUNepal has chosen a railway-track gauge used by China for its network and not the main one India uses citing lower costs, a minister said on Tuesday, a setback for India as it tries to limit Chinese involvement in the Himalayan country.

Last year, India proposed laying a broad-gauge (1,676 mm) rail link from Bihar’s Raxaul to the Nepal capital of Kathmandu, spurred by China’s plans to extend its standard gauge, or 1,435 mm measure, line from Tibet to the city.

Nepal says the Chinese railway link will eventually be extended to the western tourist city of Pokhara and to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.

Nepal Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth told news agency Reuters in an interview the government will ask India to use the standard gauge on the line it is building.

“Standard gauge is less expensive and is used in many countries,” Mr Mahaseth said.

The planned 130-km line from Raxaul to Kathmandu will be the second rail track in the landlocked, mountainous country between India and China. Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (a PSU under Ministry of Railways, Govt.of India) is likely to take up the construction of Khatmandu-Raxaul Rail line project.

Nepal’s only railway link, a 35 km track in its southern plains also built by India, is broad gauge.

India is Nepal’s largest economic partner and accounts for two thirds of its foreign trade. The bulk of foreign trade is routed through Raxaul.

But China has in recent years been more active in projects in a country India has long seen as in its sphere of influence.

At the same time, Nepal is seeking to reduce its dependence on India by increasing road and rail connectivity with China for access to its ports.

Mr Mahaseth said Nepal was using the standard gauge for an east-west railway link it is building parallel to a 1,030 km highway running through the plains.

Nepali and Chinese railway experts are due to meet in Beijing in May to discuss construction of the 70 km link connecting Gyiron in Tibet with Kathmandu, making it one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the Himalayan mountains.

“Preparation of a detailed project report for the railway line and its funding modalities will be discussed,” he said.

The proposed railway line will be part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, which aims to link China by sea and land with southeast and central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, through an infrastructure network.

Railway Ministry sanctions Survey of Tanakpur-Gairsain-Karnaprayag Rail Track

DEHRADUN: The ministry of railways has sanctioned the survey of a 310 km long new railway track which will connect Tanakpur (Izzatnagar Division/NER), Bageshwar, Chaukhutiya, Gairsain and Karnaprayag (Moradabad Division/NR). The track, once built, will connect the Kumaon and Garhwal regions of the state.

Rajya Sabha MP from Uttarakhand Anil Baluni who met rail minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday regarding the project, said that the minister has sanctioned the proposal to conduct the survey. Notably, the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail line project is already underway, and the new rail line is expected to add to it.

Baluni said that the Ministry of Railways will start the initial survey for construction of new line between Tanakpur-Bageshwar which covers a distance of 155 km. For this stretch, an estimated amount of Rs 23.25 lakh has been approved. For Bageshwar-Karnprayag via the Gairsain route, which covers the same distance, an estimated amount of Rs 38.75 lakh has been set. The new rail line will be laid on the proposed route after the survey of the entire stretch is completed, Baluni added.

“We are very thankful to ministry of railways for accepting the proposal. The rail network once completed will be a big boon to the people of Uttarakhand as it will enhance connectivity between the Kumaon and Garhwal regions,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Survey to connect India-Myanmar with railway completed

GUWAHATI: Survey work for railway line from Moreh (Manipur) to Tamu to Kalay (Myanmar), which will connect India with the ambitious 81,000 Km long Trans-Asian Railway Network (TARN), has been completed.

The Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has completed the survey, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) sources have said here.

The survey from Imphal to Moreh (123 km) was done a few years ago, but the stretch beyond Moreh was pending, which has also been now completed.

After commissioning of railway connectivity with Myanmar, North East India will be connected to the railway network to link up with the ambitious 81,000 Km long TARN through Imphal-Moreh-Tamu-Kalay.

For the development of Northeast India’s economy, trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts between the region and Southeast Asian countries, the TARN will play a vital role, the NFR sources pointed.

Moreover, the Indian Railways Construction Organisation has undertaken many survey works for new railway lines to connect other neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Survey ordered for new Railway Line from Latur Road to Gulbarga

MUMBAI: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has thrown his weight behind the laying down of the new railway line from Latur Road to Gulbarga junction in Karnataka.

In a letter addressed to Union railway minister Piyush Goyal, the CM has pushed for the new railway line while expressing the state government’s resolve to bear 50% of the total cost of the project. In his official remark on the letter, the railway minister has ordered an immediate survey of the new railway line that has been demanded.

The new line has also received recommendation from state cabinet minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar, who is the guardian minister of Latur district.

“Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar has brought to my notice that a new railway line connecting the Gulbarga junction with Latur Road station, will help to reduce the present rail travel distance by 150km and the travel time by around three hours. This will also become an alternate route to the existing single line between Latur Road and Vikarabad junction,” said Fadnavis, adding that the new line will reduce fuel consumption to a large extent.

Requesting an order for the immediate survey for the new line, the CM has said that he may consider sharing 50% of the cost to initiate the new railway line.

Welcoming the proposal to start a new railway line from Latur Road to Gulbarga, railway activist Raj Somani said that the letter written by the CM to the Union railway minister also mentioned a new line from Rotegaon-Kopargaon and Aurangabad-Chalisgaon.

“The new railway line from Latur Road to Gulbarga is projected to be like the Rotegaon-Kopargaon and Aurangabad-Chalisgaon lines. We demand the speedy completion of these two lines as well,” he said. A new line on the 22km route between Rotegaon-Kopargaon has been one of the most sought after routes in the region. A survey of the proposed route was in progress after the necessary sanction was received in 2017-18. If it comes up, the route will considerably reduce the travel time to Shirdi via Aurangabad and will also ease congestion on the busy Manmad junction.

SAIL’s Durgapur Steel Plant despatches its First batch of Made in India Wheel sets for High speed Trains

DURGAPUR: Wheel & Axle Plant of Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) on Monday dispatched its first consignment of indegenously developed wheels for LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches used in high speed trains like, the Rajdhani and Satabdi Express.

The Railways have been gradually converting its traditional coaches made by Integral Coach Factory to LHB coaches, mainly due to its high safety features. However, wheels for these coaches have so far been imported by Indian Railways. Indigenous manufacturing of LHB wheels had thus became extremely important for the railways.

DSP’s Wheel and Axle Plant, which has been making wheels for railway coaches, took up the latest challenge and managed to successfully develop LHB coach wheels as per the Railways’ stringent norms and standards. The consignment consisting of 30 wheels was flagged off by Anirban Dasgupta, CEO of ISP, who holds additional charge as CEO, DSP & ASP, in presence senior officials and Wheel & Axle collective.

The design of LHB wheel is unique due to its web profile. Moreover metallurgical property of LHB wheels are also of very stringent, a DSP statement said. For achieving the complex dimension of LHB wheels, the new design of dies and rolls were done in Wheel Design Center of Wheel & Axle plant. With the use of simulation software, the profiles of Dies and Rolls required for manufacturing of LHB wheel was optimized.

After finalization of Forging Dies & Roll design, they were manufactured in house and production trials were undertaken. The heat treatment process for LHB wheels to achieve the stringent metallurgical property was standardized at Wheel & Axle Plant with the help of RCL, RDCIS and RDSO /IR.

Now monitor Indian Railways punctuality, earnings with eDrishti

Launching the dashboard, Goyal said people can now track any information related to Indian Railways in a swipe – even while on the move.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday launched a dashboard for passengers to keep track of train punctuality as well as other such information from anywhere in the country.

The ‘eDrishti’ dashboard has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and can be accessed at www.raildrishti.cris.org.in.

Launching the dashboard, Goyal said people can now track any information related to Indian Railways in a swipe – even while on the move.

They can find out about the movement of trains across the country, train punctuality, freight and passenger earnings, freight loading and unloading, progress of major projects, public grievances, details of railway stations and much more, he said.

With regular complaints regarding the quality of food served on trains, the dashboard has also been linked to the base kitchens of the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to allow monitoring of the goings-on in IRCTC kitchens through live video.

The dashboard will also provide live status of reserved and unreserved passengers travelling on trains besides providing the exact location of trains at any point of time.

Goyal said ‘eDrishti’ was aimed at making the Indian Railways more transparent and asked people for suggestions to improve its services.

IRSDC to categorise Railway Stations for redevelopment and modernisation

Move to generate own funds on airport model

NEW DELHI: As the Indian Railways look to improve its services without spending much, Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) will modernise the stations capable of fetching more money as reckoned by the Boston Consulting Group.

Broadly, the move involves letting third parties raise funds by commercially utilising space on railway premises – airspace on stations and land around the stations among others, on the lines of airport development.

Sustainability

The move comes in the backdrop of the government telling IRSDC to make itself viable, Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, Managing Director and CEO, IRSDC, told.

IRSDC will pick those stations first that generate surplus to ensure the projects do not drill a hole in the Railways’ till. IRSDC intends to explore various methods of payment based on interest of private sector.

“Our priority will be to take up those stations where we are likely to get a higher upfront payment,” Lohia said. If the stations are not very attractive, IRSDC will opt for a mix of upfront and deferred payment.

Different model

At present, the Railways has adopted various models to develop stations. One model is Habibganj railway station, near Bhopal, where one developer has been given all the responsibilities. The redevelopment rights were won by Bansal Construction Works Pvt Ltd (lead member) and Prakash Asphaltings and Toll Highways (India) Ltd.

Then, there is another model being followed for 10 stations, termed self-development model. In this model, NBCC will modernise the station, commercially develop them, and subsequently deal with the end users – who could be buyers of homes, shops or commercial establishments. NBCC has already started work at Chandigarh and Gomtinagar, a station near Lucknow.

Another model, followed for five stations is called the operations and management model, where IRSDC initially awards the rights to operate and manage the railway station to experienced companies. It is expected to be “low cost and high visibility” model.

Services at stations will be improved, Lohia said. The station modernisation work will follow. IRSDC has awarded operations and management work for five stations. The selected companies are: Knight Frank for Bengaluru, BVG (Bharat Vikas Group) for Pune, UDS (Updater Services) for Anand Vihar in Delhi, Secunderabad and Chandigarh.

IRSDC has roped in various Central public sector units to do the initial studies for station development. IRSDC Board, to be chaired by Member (Engineering), Railway Board, will have representation from Finance Ministry, NITI Aayog and Indian Railways.

Extended lease period

Not that the station modernisation path is without challenges. Last year, Railways had invited bids for 23 stations, with a large number of stations not getting any response.

Subsequently, the Cabinet took steps like allowing the lease period to be increased to 99 years. Another commercial utilisation project of Railways in Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla also faced challenges with the project getting cancelled within a few years of the Railways awarding the project.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission bags fresh orders worth Rs 2.90 crore from IR

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways this year has shown a renewed interest in procuring eco-friendly Khadi products.  In January, in a quick response to the instructions issued by the Ministry of Railways to procure linen items from the KVIC,  the North Western Railways (Jaipur Division), North Central Railways (Allahabad Division) and Northern Railways (Delhi Division) had given order of approximately Rs 12.40 crore to the KVIC, for supply of Khadi duster and green/red flags.

Khadi Bhawan, the flagship store of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) at Delhi’s Connaught Place has bagged order to supply dusters worth Rs 1.25 crore from Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala and another order worth Rs 1.65 crore from North-West Railways Jaipur, a statement said Monday. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that such huge orders from government and PSUs not only increase the income of the artisans pivotal in the growth of Khadi sector, but also inspires new entrepreneurs to associate with Khadi with better job avenues.

“The recent orders from the Railways will certainly create more employment and subsequently raise the income of the existing artisans. It would also pave way for KVIC for more convergence with different ministries and Public Sector Units,” he said.

The railways this year has shown a renewed interest in procuring eco-friendly Khadi products.

Earlier the same month it had issued instructions to use locally-produced, environment-savvy terracotta products manufactured by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) like kulhads, glasses and plates for serving catering items to passengers at Varanasi and Raebareily railway stations.

Indian Railways likely to disable chain pulling systems on Trains

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is likely to disable the chain pulling system on trains in some areas. This move is being considered to prevent smuggling of liquor during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The move would be introduced on trains which are headed to some areas of Bihar. The chain pulling system is used to stop the trains in emergency situations.

Bihar has been a dry state since 2016. While serving or distributing liquor is banned 48 hours before polling, a violation in Bihar can attract a jail term of up to 5 years.

The Railways has considered this move as it had been observed in Bihar that smugglers would pull the chain of the train and then alight while carrying liquor. The Railways says that RPF guards would on board such trains in case of an emergency. The passengers can contact these personnel in case of such an emergency.

The Railways also took into account as many as 31 incidents where liquor smugglers had pulled the chain to stop the train.

Northern Railways offers free Wi-Fi along New Delhi-Chandigarh route; here’s how to use!

This facility of broadband internet connectivity at stations had been made live with ‘RailWire’ – the retail broadband initiative of RailTel , which is a Mini Ratna PSU under the Ministry of Railways. “These two railway sections on the New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi route are very important for Indian Railways, considering the heavy traffic of trains on this route,” stated an Indian Railways official.

Northern Railway has announced that the entire Delhi-Ambala and Ambala-Chandigarh sections have been covered with free Wi-Fi facility at stations. Passengers will now be able to stay connected to free internet at all the stations of these two sections.

Under the Prime Minister’s “Digital India” initiative, Ministry of Railways is turning many railway stations over the zone into platforms for digital inclusion by providing free Wi-Fi service, with the aspirations of creating better travel opportunities.

“These two railway sections on the New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi route are very important for Indian Railways, considering the heavy traffic of trains on this route,” stated an Indian Railways official.

This facility of broadband internet connectivity at stations had been made live with ‘RailWire’ – the retail broadband initiative of RailTel , which is a Mini Ratna PSU under the Ministry of Railways.

Yesterday, the South Western Railway officials also announced that the stations along Bengaluru and Mysuru route got access to uninterrupted free Wi-Fi through the RailTel Corporation of India that has turned 17 railways stations in this section into free Wi-Fi zones.

The 138km long Bengaluru-Mysuru route is an important section of the railways and sees heavy tourist traffic. Thus this service will help passengers stay connected while waiting for trains. Also, the upcoming Disaster Management Institute of Indian Railways is connected to the Hejjala station in this section, which makes the facility more useful.

How To Use:

  • To connect to free Wi-Fi at stations, the user has to switch on the Wi-Fi mode in the smartphone and select the RailWire Wi-Fi network.
  • The RailWire homepage automatically appears on the smartphone.
  • The user has to enter his mobile number on this homepage along with the OTP which the user will get via SMS.
  • After verification, the user will be connected to the high-speed internet service.

As per Puneet Chawla, CMD of RailTel, “Designed to offer users the best internet experience, RailWire Wi-Fi will be available to any user who has a smartphone with working mobile connection.” He also added that RailTel has set an ambitious target of installing Wi-Fi facility at 1,000 stations in the coming 10 days.

Earlier in January, 2019, RailTel announced the successful provision of high-speed Wi-Fi at 746 stations across India, catering to more than 8 million users per month.

As per the website of RailTel India, this initiative was to bridge the digital divide & to provide high-speed access network to all rail users with financial inclusion of Local Cable Operators. The passengers can use this facility for streaming HD videos, doing office work online and staying connected while waiting for their respective trains.

ICF’s Train-18 may bring Tejas Express to its end!

NEW DELHI: With Train 18 gaining pace, the Indian Railways is likely to put an end to the services of the country’s first semi high-speed train Tejas Express. At present, the third Tejas Express is ready to be rolled out in Delhi. However, senior railway officials claim that they are contemplating to stop the manufacturing of Tejas Express trains for the time being.

Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express is a flagship train introduced under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Railways is promoting it heavily and has announced at least 130 Train 18s in the coming days. The second one is more or less ready and shall be out in April. From the point of view of design, the coaches of Train 18 are sleeker, aerodynamic, work without a locomotive and have pro-passenger amenities in tune with trains operating abroad. However, the Tejas Express has LHB coaches that are pulled by an engine.

With regard to speed, both the Tejas and Vande Bharat Express have the ability to run between 160-180 kmph. The third Tejas Express has already been manufactured by one of the production units of the Indian Railways. Although its route has not been decided yet, demands have poured in to operate it on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, a source in the Railways said.

“There is no doubt that we will be focussing on manufacturing more Vande Bharat Express (Train 18) trains. A decision has not been made yet on discontinuing the production of Tejas Express trains,” a senior railway official from Delhi said.

Sources, however, have said that discussions on the production of Tejas Express trains are on. Currently, Tejas Express trains run on two routes; between Mumbai and Goa and also between Chennai and Madurai — the latter was inaugurated earlier in March.

Senior officials from the Central Railway said that barring weekends, tickets for the Tejas Express are easily available. This semi high-speed train departs from CSMT at 5am and reaches Karmali at 1.30pm.

“The reason behind low passenger turnout could be the train’s departure time. We can try the push-pull method of attaching two locomotives at both ends to reduce travel time,” said another senior railway official.

Even on the Chennai-Madurai route, complaints over clogged toilets, broken windows, and defunct LCD sets have been filed, the senior official added. Manufacturing of coaches for the Tejas Express is already expensive by 10-15 per cent as compared to a normal LHB coach used for Rajdhani or Shatabdi Express.

The Indian Railways has proposed over 100 Vande Bharat Express trains that will connect cities.

Indian Railways to load 1,216 MT of Freight this year

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways expects to load 1,216 million tonnes (mt) of goods this fiscal (2018-19), the Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said here on Friday.

This is about 55 mt more than the freight loaded by the Railways in the fiscal ending March 2018. In 2018, the Railways had loaded an extra 53 mt freight against the previous fiscal. Biggest share of the extra loading has accrued from coal and coke till February, according to the Indian Railways data.

A large chunk — two-thirds of total revenue of the Indian Railways — accrues from moving freight such as coal, coke, petroleum products, cement, food grain, iron and steel and containers.

Semi-Highspeed Rail Line between Tiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod to link 4 Airports in Kerala

The draft of the project has been submitted by Systra, a Paris-based engineering and consulting group.

TIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After the proposal to link airports with waterways, now the state government is for linking the four airports in the state with the proposed semi-high-speed rail project, the draft of which has been submitted by Systra, a Paris-based engineering and consulting group.

Senior state government officers say Systra, which submitted the draft pre-feasibility report for the 510-km rail line project, has been directed to submit a final report by introducing some changes in the alignment, reducing the length of the line in some parts and revising the cost.

According to the draft report submitted by the company, the third and fourth rail lines will mostly be an elevated green corridor with semi-high-speed trains running at a speed of around 200 km per hour. Around 60-70 per cent of the third and fourth rail lines from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod will be elevated. They will not be fully parallel to the existing rail lines.

Shri V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, Kerala Railway Development Corporation (KRDC), the special purpose vehicle set up to execute the project on a cost-sharing basis between the state government and the Railways, said Systra will submit the pre-feasibility report after incorporating the suggestions put forward by the state and the technical report ratified by the high-level committee will be forwarded to the state for ratification.

The draft report says the length of the project is a bit overshot than the previously estimated 510 km, which has to be cut down by bringing in some changes in the alignment.

Rail project set to commence in 2020 

The marginal rise in length has also resulted in the cost escalation, which will also come down with the minor changes suggested in the alignment. The officials will also hold a meeting with the Land Board to see the nature of land to be acquired as part of the project. Systra has not made any traffic projections on its own, instead it has relied on the traffic projections prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for the High Speed Rail Corridor project.

The traffic projections will be done, if needed, while preparing the detailed report of the project, which is expected to be done in the second half of the current fiscal. Since the new line will not be fully parallel to the existing lines, steep gradient and curvature in the existing lines will not be an issue for the new lines.

The KRDC has estimated the project cost at Rs.55,000 crore, to be executed in seven years, commencing in 2020, while the current estimate with the new alignment has crossed Rs.60k crore. The rail line, which will start from Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram, will end in Kasargod by connecting the main cities and four international airports in the state.

The state government has already asked the Kerala Waterways and Infrastructure Limited, a special purpose vehicle floated by the state government and Cochin International Airport Limited, to connect the main airports with the waterway being developed from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargod.

Stations on Shimla-Kalka Heritage Rail Line to soon get Free Wi-Fi

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched the free Wi-Fi facility along with the “hop-on hop-off” train service which will let passengers get down at any station and board another incoming train without purchasing new tickets.

SHIMLAAll major railways station on the Shimla-Kalka heritage train route will get free Wi-Fi, officials said on Wednesday.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur launched the free Wi-Fi facility along with the “hop-on hop-off” train service which will let passengers get down at any station and board another incoming train without purchasing new tickets.

“This would help in boosting tourism on wayside stations like Barog, Solan, Shogi and so on,” Mr Thakur said.

The chief minister also inaugurated various other modern facilities for the Kalka-Shimla heritage railway line including a modern toilet complex.

Mr Thakur also laid the foundation stones of two lifts at the Shimla railway station and the project for renovation of Shimla extension station.

On the occasion, Mr Thakur thanked Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal for taking interest in modernising Shimla railway station besides upgrading the Kalka-Shimla railway line.

Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail corridor gets UP Cabinet nod! Soon travel from Delhi to Meerut in just 60 minutes!

This comes after the Union Cabinet had approved the Delhi-Meerut rapid rail corridor. Apart from this, as part of its budget, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had allocated a sum of Rs 400 crore for the RRTS project.

GURUGRAM: Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System: Soon the citizens of Delhi and NCR will forget their long-distance travel woes! In a major development to the regional rapid transit system (RRTS), the Uttar Pradesh (UP) cabinet has approved the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS project, which is the inaugural corridor of the RRTS system, according to a recent PTI report. The project aims at providing a speedy and pollution-free transit system, connecting the regional nodes of the national capital region (NCR), making long distances shorter and convenient to travel, for citizens and regular passengers. A government spokesperson was quoted saying in the report that the Rs 30,668 crore RRTS project will be funded by the central government, Delhi government as well as the Uttar Pradesh government.

According to the report, the project will be completed by the year 2024. The UP state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, recently approved the project to provide a necessary boost to the pace of the project. This comes after the Union Cabinet had recently approved the Delhi-Meerut rapid rail corridor. Apart from this, as part of its budget, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government had allocated a sum of Rs 400 crore to the National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for RRTS project.

The NCRTC is the organization which is responsible for implementing the country’s first regional rapid corridor between Delhi-Ghaziabad and Meerut. On February 1, when the Union Budget 2019 was presented, the central government had allocated Rs 1000 crore for the RRTS project.

The RRTS trains will have an operational speed of 160 kmph, average speed of 100 kmph and will be available at a frequency of every 5-10 minutes. With the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS project, the travel time between Delhi and Meerut will come down to just 1 hour. In the first phase of the RRTS project, the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is the first of the three prioritized rapid rail corridors which is planned to be executed. The other two corridors are Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat corridors.

Delhi to Alwar via Gurugram, Rewari in less than 2 hours with new Rapid Rail! Check route, stations details

This RRTS line will boost the region between Gurugram and Alwar, benefiting commuters travelling from Delhi and Gurugram to Manesar, Bawal and Neemrana. Once operational, the expected travel time on this route will be 117 minutes.

GURUGRAM: Travel from Delhi to Alwar in less than 2 hours! The upcoming Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-Alwar Rapid Rail Transit corridor is set to provide seamless connectivity passing through the industrialized areas of Haryana and Rajasthan. This smart line will benefit the entire region between Gurugram and Alwar and will increase the productivity of a large number of commuters travelling from Delhi and Gurugram to Manesar, Bawal and Neemrana. Once operational, the expected travel time of the entire journey on this route will be 117 minutes, which means that the travel time between Delhi and Alwar will be less than 2 hours! The total number of main line stations on this route will be 22. The RRTS project is being implemented by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).

Delhi-Alwar Regional Rapid Transit System: Route, stations

1. The Delhi-Alwar RRTS line will originate from Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi and will connect Munirka, Aerocity and will pass through Gurugram, Sotanala and Rewari to reach Alwar in Rajasthan. The total length that this corridor will cover is around 164 kms.

2. The corridor is planned to be executed in three stages. In the first stage, the Delhi–Gurugram–SNB (Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror) Urban Complex will be constructed. In the second stage, the corridor will be extended from SNB Urban Complex to Sotanala. In the third stage, SNB Urban Complex to Alwar will be constructed.

3. The first stage of the Delhi-Alwar RRTS project, namely the 106 km long Delhi-Gurguram-SNB corridor will cover a total of 16 stations. The corridor will elevated for about 71 km, covering 11 stations, and for 35 km having five stations, will be made underground. Once constructed, this corridor is expected to bring down the travel time between Delhi-SNB to just 70 minutes.

4. The 16 stations of the Delhi-Gurugram-SNB corridor are namely Sarai Kale Khan, Jor Bagh, Munirka, Aerocity, Udyog Vihar, Sector-17, Rajiv Chowk, Kherki Daula, Manesar, Panchgaon, Bilaspur Chowk INDU, Dharuhera, MBIR, Rewari, Bawal and SNB. Out of these stations, Sarai Kale Khan, Udyog Vihar, Sector-17, Rajiv Chowk, Panchgaon, Bilaspur Chowk INDU, Dharuhera, MBIR, Rewari, Bawal and SNB will be elevated stations. Jor Bagh, Munirka, Aerocity, Kherki Daula and Manesar will be underground stations.

5. The second stage of the Delhi-Alwar RRTS project will be from SNB to Sotanala. It will be an extension of the first stage. In this stage, four new stations will be covered namely Shahjahanpur, Neemrana, Behror and Sotanala. All these stations will be elevated. The third and final stage will complete the Delhi-Alwar rapid transit system with its last two stations Khairthal and Alwar getting added on the RRTS map. Both these stations will be elevated.

Centre approves two Corridors of Surat Metro Rail project

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said the project will be implemented by the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) and completed in five years. The project will be financed mainly through equity from the Centre and state government on 50-50 basis and loan from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

SURAT: The Centre Saturday approved two corridors of the Surat Metro project, which will be executed at an estimated cost of around Rs 12,000 crore, according to an official statement.

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said the project will be implemented by the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) and completed in five years.

The project will be financed mainly through equity from the Centre and state government on 50-50 basis and loan from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

In the statement, the ministry said the around 69.36 lakh people of Surat Municipal Corporation, out growth area and urban agglomeration are expected to be benefitted by this project directly and indirectly.

The length of the first corridor — Sarthana to Dream City line — will be 21.61 km of which 6.47 km would be underground and the rest elevated. It will have 20 metro stations — Sarthana, Nature park, Kapodra, Labheshwar chowk area, Central Warehouse, Surat Railway station, Maskati hospital, Gandhi Baug, Majura Gate, Roopali Canal and Dream City.

Similarly, the Bhesan to Saroli metro corridor, with a proposed length of 18.74 kms, would be completely elevated with 18 stations – Bhesan, Ugat Vaarigruh, Palanpur road, LP Savani School, Adajan Gam, Aquarium, Majuragate, Kamela Darwaza, Magob and Saroli.

The ministry said the Dream city and Bhesan depots will fulfil the maintenance requirements of the Surat metro rail project.

“The proposed corridors will be having multi-modal integration and will have feeder network of bus, intermediate public transport (IPT) and non-motorized transport,” the statement read.

The residential areas, commercial and industrial areas along these metro corridors will be immensely benefitted by this project as the people of these areas will be able to travel on trains from their own neighbourhood to reach different areas of the city conveniently, it added.

Maharashtra Metro Rail focusing on generating 50% revenues through non-fare services, says Managing Director

The Metro train would comprise three coaches against four coaches elsewhere. The total project cost for the Nagpur Metro is Rs 8,680 crore.

NAGPUR: The Nagpur Metro Project which is set to go on stream in the first week of March has many firsts to its credit — from solar-powered coaches to targeted 50%-plus non-fare revenues. Brijesh Dixit, managing director of Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation, in an interview with Vikas Srivastava said, the company will likely break-even by 2021. Edited Excerpts:

Which are the routes you are planning to launch in the first phase?
The stretch starting from Khapri Metro Station to Sitabuldi Interchange which is part of the north-south corridor along with Lokmanya Nagar and Subhash Nagar on the east-west corridor are proposed to be launched in the first phase. These routes will provide connectivity between industrial areas on the outskirts of the city (SEZ, cargo hub) to the Central Business District of Sitabuldi. It will also provide an easy transportation for the workforce employed in the industrial area of Hingna. The proposed work on these two routes would cover a distance of 18.5 km and will be over by February 26.

What are the sizes of rakes that we are looking at? 
The Metro train would comprise three coaches against four coaches elsewhere. However, these coaches would have higher powering capacity, which allows faster pick-up between stations. The other major highlight of the train would be a special coach for women called ‘Nari Shakti’. The special coach would not just ensure safety for women, but also promise a hassle-free journey.

By when can we expect both the corridors (east-west and north-south) to be ready?
The entire Nagpur Metro project which covers a distance of 38.215 km and includes 38 stations is expected to be ready by the end of 2019. While the north-south corridor of this project stretches to a distance of 19.985 km and covers 18 stations, the east-west corridor covers a distance of 18.23 km and 20 stations. Sitabuldi Interchange would serve to be the meeting point for train coming from all the four directions.

According to DPR, what is the ridership projected this year. And in the next five years?
As per DPR, the proposed daily ridership in 2021 is expected to be 3.83 lakh. The ridership for the north-south corridor is expected to be 1.85 lakh, while the figure for east-west corridor would be 1.97 lakh. Similarly, the ridership figures, as proposed in the DPR, would increase exponentially, and by 2041, the ridership is expected to be 5.63 lakh (north-south corridor — 2.77 lakh and east-west corridor — 2.86 lakh). The Detail Project Report (DPR) lists ridership figures for every five years.

How much of the total power requirement for the Metro will be met through solar energy?
Solar power has been integrated right from the inception to meet 65% of total requirement of the project. In Phase-I, 14 MW solar power was installed which will be upgraded to 25 MW later. The rooftops, depot boundary walls and depot sheds will be mounted with solar PV panels which will be grid connected and net-metered.

What is the kind of investments we have seen till date for the Metro and what is the total project cost?
The total project cost for the Nagpur Metro is Rs 8,680 crore. Till date, over Rs 5,000 crore have been invested in the project and 77 % of the total work has also been completed. Apart from the continuous financial support by the central and state governments, foreign funding agencies such as Kfw of Germany and Afd of France have also provided 630 million euros for the project.

In terms of revenues, what are your expectations and how soon can we expect the Nagpur Metro to break-even?
Maha Metro has focussed on generating more than 50% of revenue through non-fare box sources. It will be highest-ever in the metro rail segment across the world. We aim to overtake Hong Kong Metro service which is around 42%. We have not waited for launch of services but our earnings have already started. Maha Metro has already earned almost Rs 140 crore through property development initiatives. Metro has earned from the 1% additional surcharge on stamp duty levied by the state government and the earnings through transit-oriented development (TOD) policy. We expect the break-even to happen by 2021 when our traffic reaches 3.83 lakh.

Developers eye prime Rail Land Development Authority plots in Metros

Just last week, RLDA has finalised a deal worth Rs 1,200 crore for one 27 acre plot in Delhi’s Ashok Nagar Area with Godrej Properties.

NEW DELHI: Real estate developers are making a beeline for unused land parcels owned by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) which is planning to monetise 50 of its properties in prime locations in metros and tier II cities.

“RLDA has so many plots which are lying unused. The Railways is planning to monetise these lands to raise funds. There is a huge potential and so far we have identified 48 locations which would be monetised… in phases,” a senior official from the RLDA told this publication. The official added that the land can be allocated for both residential and commercial use.

In the first phase RLDA has identified 12 sites across 7 metros for revenue generation — including vacant land located in Delhi, Mumbai Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru — and is eying a monetisation target of around Rs 11,000-Rs 12,000 crore.

According to the official, all these land parcels taken together can generate nearly Rs 50,000 crore for the railways, which can be used for developing and improving existing infrastructure.

“There is a huge potential in these unused lands. The authority is also looking at redeveloping old railway colonies with an option to sell some of the houses in the open market,” the official noted.

Given the fact that these lands are situated at prime locations,  developers are ready to loosen their purse strings. “For instance, in Mumbai the plots are in Bandra, Mahalaxmi and near Lokmanya Tilak Terminal. This has attracted many developers and we have received lots of queries about them,” the official said. Sources also claim that Adani, Godrej, Tata housing and Lodha have already expressed interest in these land parcels.

Just last week, RLDA has finalised a deal worth Rs 1,200 crore for one 27 acre plot in Delhi’s Ashok Nagar Area with Godrej Properties. According to this deal, the developer will have to construct flats for the railways free of cost and Godrej will pay the Rs 1,200 crore spread over eight years with interest at 12 per cent.

Last month, the RLDA had leased out 45 acres of prime land in Mumbai to the Maharashtra government government for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project for Rs 1,000 crore. This project was also done on a similar basis as envisaged in the Godrej deal. For instance, the Railways  leased the land for 99 years, but will get new quarters for their staff, while encroachments on railway land will also be rehabilitated as part of the project. The land parcels lie between Dadar and Mahim, and Dadar and Sion.

Maharashtra Cabinet approves Rs.13095 Crore Thane Metro

The planners expect a daily ridership of about 6 lakh by 2025 and an increase to 9 lakh by 2045.

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The state cabinet approved Rs 13,095 Croe Metro Rail Project to ease Thane city erratic traffic. Which will be implemented by the Maha Metro on behalf of the Thane Municipal Corporation.

The 29-km route will connect the congested areas of the old and new city, and will have two underground stations and rest will be elevated. The metro is part of a comprehensive mobility plan for Mumbai’s twin city. The Thane civic corporation approved it and sent it for Cabinet approval. The planners expect a daily ridership of about 6 lakh by 2025 and an increase to 9 lakh by 2045.

It will have 22 stations, The stations proposed for metro are: New Thane, Rayla Devi, Wagale Square, Lokmanya Nagar bus depot, Shivaji Nagar, Nilkanth Terminal, Gandhi Nagar, Ghanekar Theatre, Manpada (Ghodbunder road), Dongripada, Vijay Nagari, Waghbil, Water Front, Patlipada, Azadnagar bus station, Manoranjan Nagar, Kolshet, Balkum, Rabodi, Shivaji Chowk and Thane station.

The fare will be in tune with that of the Wadala-Kasarwadvali (Thane) metro.

Special status for Thane metro

The metro has been given a status of the essential public scheme and important urban project so that it isn’t stalled for approvals and financial assistance.  The intracity metro line is expected to not only help citizens travel to different ends of the city but also aid those travelling to the neighbouring cities through its inter modal system

Training tracks ready for Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train! Check details

NHSRCL is implementing the high-speed train corridor project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. It is also setting up HSRTI at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore on the campus of National Academy of Indian Railways.

VADODARA: It seems like work for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is in full swing! Two 50-m training tracks for India’s first bullet train project are ready. The tracks slabs are made from high strength concrete using Japan’s Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) technology.

As per the reports, the tracks include one 50-metre straight line and another same length for a curved line. The tracks are developed at High-Speed Rail Training Institute (HSRTI) and are being set up by National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL).

It may be noted that NHSRCL is implementing the high-speed train corridor project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The total length of the proposed corridor works is 508.17 km. The route of Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat and one Union Territory, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

NHSRCL is also setting up HSRTI at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore on the campus of National Academy of Indian Railways, Vadodara. The institute will train manpower in high-speed rails. Of the total Rs 600 budget, Rs 38 crore will be spent on the 1st phase of the project, the report added.

The first consignment containing Japanese goods like 20 track slabs, 200-metre rails and 13 mm diameter reinforcement bars have already reached HSRTI. The 508 Km-long corridor requires more than one lakh such track slabs to lay the tracks for the bullet train.

In another report, ToI mentioned that India’s first bullet train will have about 28 seismometers installed along the route especially in earthquake-prone regions like Konya, Latur and Kutch. These seismometers will ensure that the train can be stopped immediately in case of earthquake tremors.

The report quoted NHRCL saying, “This system detects earthquake-induced tremors which determine the expected effect of the earthquake and sends out warning signals to the operation command control and triggers emergency brake to the bullet trains if required. Critical damage and human casualties will be averted due to installation of such a system.”

In December last year, a team of Japanese experts came to India to study and select six locations for installation of these devices. They examined 10m x 12m plot for installing seismometer, the report further added.

It is worth mentioning that NHSRCL has announced a nationwide competition to name the bullet train which will run from Mumbai to Ahmedabad by 2022. According to NHSRCL, the name and mascot should represent the true nature of high-speed rail and all the socio-economic benefits that will come with the introduction of this technology in India.

There will be two separate entries for train name and mascot design. The selected entry will be awarded a cash prize and five consolation entries. For mascot design, the winning prize is Rs 1,00,000 and five consolation prize of Rs 10,000 each will be awarded as well. For the train set name, the winning prize amount is Rs 50,000 and five consolation prize of Rs 5,000 each also be given.

Over 50,000 Mangrove Trees to be cut for Bullet Train project, HC told

The Bombay HC is hearing the rail corporation’s petition, challenging the MCZMA’s decision to defer their proposal of razing mangroves for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. The Maharashtra coastal body has okayed the felling of over 50,000 mangrove trees for the bullet train project.

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has cleared a proposal to cut 53,467 mangrove trees, spread over 13.36 hectares (ha), for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) told the Bombay high court (HC) on Monday.

The project is expected to cut short the commute time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to 2.5 hours from 6.5 hours.

The HC is hearing the rail corporation’s petition, challenging the MCZMA’s decision to defer their proposal of razing mangroves for the project.

The NHSRCL told high court that MCZMA, on March 7, cleared its proposal and sent it to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for a final sanction.

According to a letter sent by MCZMA to the director, Coastal Zone Regulation of the MoEF, 32.43ha mangrove forest area will be required to be diverted in Mumbai and Thane districts, and 53,467 mangrove trees, spread over 13.36ha, will need to be razed for India’s first highspeed rail project.

In its petition to the HC, NHSRCL has said that of the 508km-long high-speed corridor, 155.642km will pass through Maharashtra, affecting 131.30ha of forest area, including mangroves spread over 32.43ha.

It stated that of the 32.43km passing through CRZ areas in Maharashtra, 8.39km would be underground, and at places, the bullet train will pass through an elevated viaduct. Thus, it told HC that only 53,467 mangroves, spread over an area of 13.36ha, would be actually affected by the corridor.

Pralhad Paranjape, counsel for NHSRCL, had earlier argued that the corporation proposed to plant five times the actual number of mangroves affected by the corridor as against the statutory requirement of planting thrice the number of trees affected by a project.

Paranjape had submitted that the coastal authority failed to consider that the bullet train corridor is a “public interest project”.

Koppal Railway Station better off in Rail Amenities

KOPPAL: Ballari district has been contributing ₹ 1,500 crore freight revenue to the Railways while rail facilities in general and amenities at some of its important and major railway stations, including Ballari (district headquarters) and Hosapete (flocked by tourists from across the globe) cities, are minimum.

In contrast, Koppal, which is a smaller city compared to Ballari, particularly population-wise and passenger-public travelling by train, is getting two escalators and two lifts at its railway station. Apart from that, four foot overbridges at Bhanapur, Harlapur, Bannikoppa and Sompur would be constructed, thanks to the sincere efforts put in by Karadi Sanganna, MP, representing it, who laid the foundation stone for commencement of the work last week.

But to one’s chagrin such a gesture from MPs representing Ballari is missing. However, vain attempts are being made by members of the Zonal Rail Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) and members of the various railway action committees for getting improved rail facilities and amenities.

Work on only one of the four rail overbridges for which foundation stones were laid in early 2000 at various railway gates in Ballari city, has been completed. As far as three other overbridges, work on only one has commenced and is going on at a slow pace.

When V. Ravikumar, representing the Ballari District Chamber of Commerce and Industry at ZRUCC, demanded escalator facility at Ballari Railway Station, the authorities said that as per the Railway Board norms, the footfall of passengers should be more than a lakh for providing escalators.

Comparing the developments in Koppal, the public opinion here has been that the elected representative should strive to get more rail amenities.

Commissioner of Railway Safety inspects Villupuram-Cuddalore electrified rail line stretch

TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI: Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru K. A. Manoharan on Friday inspected the overhead electrification works which has been completed in the stretch from Villupuram to Cuddalore Port Junction falling under the Tiruchi Railway Division limits.

Accompanied by top officials of the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and Tiruchi Railway Division, Mr. Manoharan started his statutory inspection from Villupuram Junction travelling on board an inspection special train.

Mr. Manoharan stopped at several spots along the 46-km stretch inspecting the overhead electric installations, traction masts, alignment of the electric wire, level crossing gates and bridges. Thereafter, he conducted a speed trial in the electrified stretch from Cuddalore Port Junction to Villupuram travelling in the inspection special train hauled by an electric locomotive.

A senior RVNL official said the trial run was conducted at a speed of 100 km per hour. The RVNL has been entrusted with the task of implementing the overhead electrification project in the 228-km main line section from Villupuram to Thanjavur via Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Sirkazhi, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam.

The first portion from Villupuram to Cuddalore Port Junction has been electrified under this project. The RVNL would now concentrate on the next stretch from Cuddalore Port Junction to Mayiladuthurai, the official said. A traction sub-station as part of the ongoing project would come up at Cuddalore and Mayiladuthurai.

SER signed a MOU with IRFC provide assistance to ongoing Cochlear Implant Program

KOLKATA: Indian Railway Finance Corporation Limited (IRFC), New Delhi  and South Eastern Railway (SER), Garden Reach, here have signed a Memorandum  of Understanding (MOU) today where IRFC will provide assistance to ongoing Cochlear Implant Programme at Central Hospital, SER, Garden Reach under their CSR scheme in the tune of approximately Rs 18 million.

For South Eastern Railway, Principal Chief Medical Director, Dr. Rupa Mitra and for Indian Railway Finance Corporation, MD, Vijay Kumar have signed the MOU.

Under this scheme, IRFC will donate 25 nos. of Cochlear Implants for use in severe  to profound deaf people specially children, turning their life into an useful and productive  one. A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants  bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the  brain.

Central Hospital, South Eastern Railway, Garden Reach, is running Cochlear Implant  Programme since May 2012 and till date, 60 successful implants have been carried out.  SER has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for cochlear implant project and cases are being referred to Central  Hospital for this highly technical and delicate surgery and the first cochlear implant under  this scheme in Eastern India was done at Central Hospital, South Eastern Railway.

IRFC is also helping Central Hospital to install a complete audio vestibulometric unit so that needy patients can get hassle free services at Otorhinolaryngolgy department.

₹177.69 Crore sanctioned for laying Karaikal-Peralam Railway line

Metre gauge line had existed till the mid -1980s when the rail services were stopped

The Karaikal-Peralam rail link is all set to be restored with the Railway Board according sanction to the detailed estimate for laying the line in this section falling under the limits of Tiruchi Railway Division.

The Railway Board, New Delhi, has sanctioned ₹177.69 crore for laying the 23-kilometre new line from Karaikal to Peralam as material modification to the gauge conversion of Tiruchi – Nagore – Karaikal section thereby setting the stage for implementation of the project.

An official communication from the Railway Board sanctioning funds for providing the rail link has already been communicated to the Southern Railway General Manager as well as to the Chief Administrative Officer – Construction, Southern Railway.

While sanctioning funds, the Railway Board has specified the department-wise break up of the project cost under which a sizeable chunk of ₹136.60 crore is meant for Civil Engineering works. The cost for Signal and Telecommunication works would be ₹ 22.65 crore with ₹ 9.73 crore meant for yard arrangements at Peralam.

A metre gauge line had originally existed from Karaikal to Peralam via Tirunallar till the mid -1980s when the rail services were stopped and the track dismantled. Rail travellers in and around Karaikal region had for long been seeking the restoration of the line via Tirunallar – housing the famous shrine of Lord Saneeswara and attracting devotees from all over the country.

The rail travellers wanted the restoration of the line as it would be a shorter and direct route to Karaikal from Mayiladuthurai and Peralam instead of taking a detour via Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Nagore which is the case at present.

With the funds having been sanctioned, the preliminary works connected with the project is expected to kick-start soon. Railway officials say tenders for earthwork and bridges would be floated in a couple of months. The line would pass via Tirunallar and Ambagarathur.

The extent of earth that would be required for the project, the number of major and minor bridges along the route besides the number of level crossing gates would all be compiled before floating the tender. The work would be executed by the Southern Railway Construction Organisation which has carried out broad gauge conversion works in the Mayiladuthurai – Tiruvarur – Tiruthuraipoondi – Pattukottai- Karaikudi section.

Officials say land acquisition by and large may not be required for the project as a metre gauge track was already in place from Karaikal to Peralam. The sanction of funds for the project fulfils the long pending demand for the implementation of the project, says V.R. Dhanaseelane, president, Karaikal District Rail Users Welfare Association. The Southern Railway Construction Organisation should try to complete the project in a year as it would pave the way for early rail connectivity to the temple town Tirunallar, he added.

History

This metre gauge branch line between Peralam Junction and Karaikal was approved for construction by French India during December 1895. The French government invested about 1,201,840  (approximately ₹1.51 crore for the construction, which was done by the then Great South Indian Railway (which was later merged with South Indian Railway Company) and opened on 14 March 1898. This line provided rail connectivity to Karaikal port and transfer of goods through rail into British India, as this line would give further connectivity to Mayiladuthurai Junction, which falls on the main line.  Cement, fertilisers, tiles, timber, kerosene oil, rice, wheat, grains, pulses and paddy were the main goods involved in traffic. Raw materials like pressed cotton and coal for textile mills and iron billets for Pondicherry Rolling Mills were brought in, processed and the finished product was supplied all over the country. Though the goods traffic density fared better, the passenger traffic slumped and services were called off except the rolling stock.

 

Indian Railways may miss 6,000-km Electrification target for this year

Indian Railways has achieved 62% of its 6,000-km target this fiscal year. Electrification of tracks is expected to reduce diesel consumption by about 2.8 billion litres, resulting in the railways reducing its energy bill by about Rs 13,000 crore per annum by FY22.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways may fall short of its electrification target of 6,000 kilometres for the 2018-19 financial year. As on March 18, the national transporter has completed electrification of 3,754 km, 8 per cent short of the 4,087 km achieved in 2017-18.

In order to achieve its target to electrify 6,000 route km in 2018-19, the Indian Railways will have to clock an average rate of 220 route km per day in the remaining 10 days of March, compared with the around 11 route km per day it has been able to do till now in the current financial year.

The transporter is woefully short of its target and has been able to electrify around 3,800 route km so far this year. The required rate may even go up further, according to a source.

In September 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal for 100% electrification of the balance un-electrified broad-gauge routes by 2021-22. The railways drew up a yearly target, according to which it is to electrify 6,000 route km in 2018-19, 7,000 route km in 2019-20, and 10,500 route km each in 2020-21 and 2021-22. In 2017-18, the national transporter electrified 4,087 route km. Railway arm Central Organisation for Railway Electrification is the executing agency for electrification work.

Electrification of tracks is expected to reduce diesel consumption by about 2.8 billion litres, resulting in the railways reducing its energy bill by about Rs 13,000 crore per annum by FY22. The railways currently requires 16 billion units of electricity every year, equivalent to supplies from 12 GW of generation capacity. It spends around Rs 10,000 crore on electricity every year with the average per unit cost being around Rs 6/unit.

Experts, though, believe that this is the initial year and despite missing the target this year, pace will pick up going forward. “Even though the target may be missed this year, it should be easier to scale it up in the coming years given that the railway machinery is geared up for 100% electrification,” said Abhaya K Agarwal, partner-transaction advisory services, infrastructure and PPP at EY.

In line with its vision for all-electric tracks, the railways has already stopped production of diesel locomotives and is also converting the old diesel locomotives into electric ones. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, however, has questioned the transporter’s plan, on the one hand, to go 100% electric and on the other, setting up of a diesel locomotive plant in Bihar by GE which has been promised an assured take-off of 1,000 units. The railways is to pay GE Rs 14,656 crore for assured off-take apart from Rs 2,228-crore as maintenance fee.

Google Pay starts Railway Ticket bookings in India

Google Pay users can browse for train options, book tickets and also cancel them through the App.

NEW DELHI: In what could become a major use case of Google Pay (earlier named Tez) users in India, the digital payments app will allow railways ticket booking through its platform.

The service is being powered by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

In a statement the company said that the feature will be made available in the travel and transit section of the application and can be used by smartphone users across Android and iOS.

Google Pay users can also browse for train options, book tickets and even cancel them through the app. Additionally users can also check seat availability, journey duration also compare travel time.

“Two out of every three transactions on Google Pay come from 3,00,000 of India’s towns and villages, well beyond India’s largest metros. The train ticket booking feature addresses an important need for Indian users, right within the app and is another step to making the lives of our users easier and more convenient with Google Pay,” said Ambarish Kenghe, Director, Product Management, Google Pay.

Leveraging the success with cab and bus bookings on the Google Pay app, the California headquartered search engine giant intends to scale up train bookings massively as well.

How to book train tickets in India straight from the Google Pay App

Google Pay is available both on iOS and Android. The money will be deducted directly from your bank account, so you won’t need any additional apps for train booking.

Before we tell you how you can book a train ticket, make sure that you have a working IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) account. If you don’t, you can create one during the booking process or sign up here.

  • Open Google Pay app on your phone, scroll down to the Business section, and tap on the Trains icon.
  • Tap on Book Train Tickets.
  • Select your origin and destination with the date of travel and General/Ladies quota to search for trains. Note that Tatkal ticket booking is not available at the moment.
  • From the list of trains, you can check availability, and select a class to book the ticket.
  • Once you select a class of ticket, you’ll have to enter your details like IRCTC ID, name, contact number, and age.
  • After that, you’ll be prompted to pay through your Google Pay UPI account, and enter the password for the IRCTC account in the subsequent steps.

Google Pay has added features to even cancel the ticket or check train status directly from the app.

Delhi-Gurugram rapid rail project to reduce Delhi-Alwar travelling time by 2 hours!

NEW DELHI: Soon the travelling time between Delhi and Alwar will be reduced by 2 hours, thanks to the 106-km Delhi-Gurugram-SNB (Shahjahanpur-Neemrana-Behror Urban Complex) rapid rail project. The project got approved from the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) Board in December last year, and also Haryana Cabinet has given it a go ahead.

With the completion of this project, the travelling time between Delhi and Alwar will be significantly reduced by 2 hours, however, it might not happen anytime soon. As per officials, it will take five years for the work to get complete. The project has been allotted INR 24,975 crore and will be funded by various organisations.

As per reports, 20 percent fund will come from the Central Government, while state governments will give 20 percent. The remainder 60 percent fund will come through bilateral/multilateral funding agencies.

There will be three stages of construction. In the first stage, construction of Delhi-Gurugram-Rewari-SNB Urban Complex will take place. In the second stage, the same corridor will be extended from SNB Urban Complex to Sotanala, while the third stage will see final construction from SNB Urban Complex to Alwar.

Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi will be the merging point of the corridor with other RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit Systems) corridors. This will help passengers as they won’t have to change trains in between.

About Rapid Trains

1) These RRTS trains will run at a speed of 180 km/hr, and will be available at a regular interval of 5-10 minutes.

2) These trains will be fully air-conditioned and will also have seating and overhead luggage spaces.

3) There will also be a coach reserved only for women.

4) A business class coach will also be available in every train.

Patancheru-Medak Rail Line remains a Pipe Dream in Telangana

SANGAREDDY: Every government that has ever come to power in undivided Andhra Pradesh and later Telangana has promised a new railway line between Medak and Patancheru. The demand, or rather dream, for a new railway line is an old one. It gained momentum in 1980 when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to contest from the Medak Parliamentary constituency.

During her campaign, Gandhi had said a railway line connecting Patancheru, Sangareddy, Jogipet, Medak and Akkannapet would change the people’s lives by helping in the growth of industries, businesses and even tourism.

The people of Medak perhaps believed Gandhi. They got her elected from the constituency and then waited for her to fulfil her promise. Soon enough, there was progress. A railway station was built at Patancheru and connected to Lingampally; it would be the first step towards Sangareddy, Jogipet, Medak and ultimately Akannapet. However, before this could happen Gandhi was assassinated in 1984.

Since then, the railway station at Patancheru exists only on paper. Trains stopped running on this nascent line as people had no reason to use it. The issue assumes political significance every poll season.

At one point, a few like-minded people, including local politicians, came together to form the ‘Railway Line Sadhana Samithi’ in an attempt to amplify their voice. G Joginath, the convenor of the organisation, says, “So many people would have benefited had the railway line been built by now. The factories located in the Patancheru industrial area would have been connected to North India.”

Joginath points out that more often than not, there is heavy traffic on the Hyderabad-Mumbai and Hyderabad-Nanded highways. “This problem could be solved by a railway line,” Joginath says. Railway Line Sadhana Samithi members believe that the State government is to blame for the delay.

Standing Committee for Implementation of Public Procurement seeks probe in Pune Metro tender

MMRCL is a special purpose vehicle equally owned by the government of India and the government of Maharashtra.

PUNE: The standing committee for implementation of public procurement has asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to look into Pune Metro rail’s tender for procurement of rails, as the committee has observed that conditions were revised to make them restrictive for local manufacturers, a move that “seems to be with a malafide intent”.

The CVC has been asked to take “strict action against erring officials”, according to minutes of a meeting held earlier this month. The committee took cognizance of a complaint by Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL), which has alleged that Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) – which is implementing the Pune Metro rail project – changed the initial bid requirement that a bidder should have supplied at least 18,000 tonne of head-hardened rails in the past seven years to other countries, to 22,500 tonne. JSPL claims to have supplied close to 20,000 tonne of such rails to the Iranian Islamic Republic Railways. So, the company would have qualified under the previous criterion, but not the revised one.

MMRCL is a special purpose vehicle equally owned by the government of India and the government of Maharashtra.

JSPL is the only Indian company apart from SAIL that produces rails. SAIL’s entire production goes to Indian Railways and yet falls short of the transporter’s yearly requirement, leaving JSPL the only firm which can participate in domestic tenders.

In a meeting held earlier this month, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), which overseas Metro rail projects, informed the committee that it has taken up the matter with the authorities concerned and issued directions to ensure tender conditions are not restrictive for local manufacturers, according to the minutes.

One of the requirements in the initial bids was that a company should have supplied at least 90,000 tonne of rails during the last seven years, of which 45,000 tonne should have been supplied to countries outside the country of production. Other requirements included that of the rails supplied to overseas countries, 18,000 tonne should be of international standard as required for the Pune project. While the first clause was retained in the revised tender, the second was tweaked.

A JSPL spokesperson declined to comment.

Brijesh Dixit, managing director of MMRCL, however, clarified the initial number of 18,000 tonne was a typographic error made by a lower level official, and that action is being taken against him. “There is no malafide intent,” he said, adding that the company has not received any communication from the CVC.

MMRCL has briefed MoHUA officials about the typographical error.

Dixit said the figure of 22,500 tonne was arrived at as per the standard formula which is followed by all other metros including Delhi Metro, Chennai Metro, Bangalore Metro, Kochi Metro and Lucknow. “The Pune Metro project are being funded by international agencies and it has to follow international norms,” he said.

According to Dixit, the demand for rails in Pune Metro is 9,000 tonne which requires supply experience of 10 times of that in last seven years and 50% of that has to be exports.

On JSPL’s complaint, Dixit said it is a genuine case and that the tender is still to be finalised. “We will take a positive view. We are in the process of settling those issues and we will explain our position.”

JSPL has been aggressively looking to supply rails to the Indian Railways as well. It has supplied 1.4 lakh tonne of rails for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and more than 80,000 tonne to the railways separately, according to the company.

Railway Electrification Unit in Bhubaneswar shifted to Bengaluru

BHUBANESWAR: As a part of the reorganisation of the Central Organisation of Railway Electrification (CORE) of Indian Railways, the Railway Electrification (RE) unit in Bhubaneswar has been shifted to Bengaluru in Karnataka.

In the process, Chief Project Directors (CPD) of various railway electrification units in different parts of the country are being merged and transferred. Due to this, some project works have been transferred to units that are convenient from an administrative and technical point of view. Similarly, other projects will be merged and the set ups of CPD shifted as their works have been completed.

The Railway Electrification (RE) Works in the ECoR zone have been completed. Works like laying of new tracks and the doubling of existing tracks will be done along with electrification by the concerned construction agencies of railways viz. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, Indian Railways Construction Company Limited (IRCON), ECoR Construction Organization, etc.

Notably, the Railway electrification units in Bhubaneswar and Kolkata will stop operating after March 31. In the past, various units at Ranchi, Mathura and Kota have been closed down.

The Railway Electrification office at Bhubaneswar has been shifted to Bangalore for its new assigned works in Karnataka. The works assigned to RE/Bhubaneswar for electrification of Azimganj-New Farakka line in Bengal have been shifted to Danapur in Bihar for better monitoring of ongoing projects, there, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) said in a release.

Similarly, the assigned works for RE/Secunderabad have been shifted to RE/Chennai for better monitoring of ongoing works. Apart from this, RE Establishment at New Jalpaigudi has been shifted to Guwahati.

In view of the above, the restructuring is done for better monitoring of the projects. Railway Electrification Units at Bhubaneswar and Kolkata have been decided to be closed after 31st March, 2019. It is also not the first time that RE has closed down any of its offices. Various projects like Ranchi, Mathura and Kota have been closed down in past.

It is mentioned here that, RE Works in East Coast Railway Jurisdiction have been completed. New works like New Lines, Doubling etc., will be executed along with Electrification by the concerned Construction Agencies of Railways, such as Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), Indian Railways Construction Company Limited (IRCON), ECoR Construction Organization, etc.

Hence, the staff and officers of RE Organization posted in Bhubaneswar & Kolkata will be allowed to continue till current academic session. Thereafter they will be adjusted as per their choice to the maximum extent possible.

It may also be mentioned here that the Staff & Officers from Different Zonal and Divisional Units of Indian Railways; i.e. from Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Waltair, Bilaspur, Chakradharpur and Kharagpur Divisions are deputed to RE Projects to look after construction of RE projects for a few years. After completion of the works or before commissioning of the projects in other RE projects all over India, staff returned to their parental cadre or to their initial units. This is the normal practice for all RE Projects.

The decision of closing the Railway Electrification unit at Bhubaneswar has evoked sharp reactions from BJD, Congress and CPI (M). A letter issued on Wednesday signed by Bhupender Singh Bodh, executive director of Railway Electrification, said member traction of Railway Board and chairman of the board has approved for transferring of railway electrification’s (RE) Bhubaneswar office (RE/BBS) to Bangalore. “RE/BBS projects will be closed after March 31 this year and manpower will be transferred to other projects,” said the letter.

On the other hand, the Biju Janata Dal opposed the Railway’s move. “Shifting of Railway Electrification Unit from Bhubaneswar is a clear violation of model code of conduct and it is a ploy of Bharatiya Janata Party to win elections in Karnataka,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said. “It is unfortunate that the railway officials took this step to close such an excellent 22-year-old project office. BJP-led government has done this to woo the voters of Karnataka in the upcoming elections. We will protest this decision and make it an issue during election campaigning,” he added. BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the BJP has always been against the development of the state by shifting projects and offices from Odisha to other states. “The Railways had shifted its proposed wagon factory in Kalahandi district to Andhra Pradesh in 2016. Recently, it has bifurcated Waltair division of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to create a new rail zone in Andhra Pradesh. Now it took a decision to shift the CORE office to Bangalore. It clearly shows the Central government’s anti-Odisha attitude,” he added. Patra said with the shifting of this office, the electrification work of railways will be affected. “Around 250 temporary staff may lose their jobs. We strongly condemn this move by the BJP in power especially when the Model Code of Conduct for election is in force,” he added.

Congress spokesperson Satya Prakash Nayak addressing a press conference here said the CORE’s Bhubaneswar office has received excellence certificate for the year 2017-18 for successfully completing the electrification work in time and it has around six projects in its kitty. The project office has created a record in the country by conducting double decker electrification testing in Jakhapura-Daitari rail line in 2008, he added.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers led by senior leader Janardan Pati staged a demonstration in front of the CORE’s chief project director’s (CPD) office here on Friday protesting the decision to shift Bhubaneswar office to Bangalore. “We will take up the issue with the Chief Electoral Officer here and Election Commission of India about the decision to shift the office when the model code of conduct for election is enforced across the country. I appeal all the political parties to protest the decision in one voice,” said Pati.

Indian Railways Opens Tender for 64,000km Trackside Comms Network

NEW DELHI: As Indian Railways subsidiary RailTel launches a tender for trackside to train connection services. The tender documents are now live, said an official. Eschewing the now creaking trackside communications GSM-R system, which has been slowly rolled out across Europe, RailTel, has opted to follow countries like South Korea and leap straight into LTE-R.

This week the company published the tender material on its website for four phases of construction eventually covering 64,000km of track. The closing date for submissions is 20 April.

Once installed, the LTE-R network will provide high-speed, on-board internet connectivity right across the vast, sprawling Indian Railways network. The trackside system will also enable on-train CCTV services and train and track condition monitoring services, as well as signalling services for train control.

A 650km trial of the LTE-R services is currently underway along four separate stretches of track, each around 150km long. Based on the feedback from these trials, the company plans to float tenders for the entire network. Phase 1 will cover the ‘Golden Triangle’, which accounts for 75% to 80% of India Railways high-use and high revenue tracks, some 10,000km.

Previously RalTel and IR trialled satellite-delivered Wi-Fi services on Express trains between Delhi and Kolkata. However, these ran into cost and bandwidth issues, which forced RailTel to look elsewhere. The new LTE-R system will now form the bedrock of its network-wide on-board Wi-Fi services.

Meanwhile, the company is pressing ahead with its hugely ambitious station Wi-Fi project, which it launched with technical partners Google and the Department of Telecoms in 2014. Since then, RailTel has developed one of the world’s largest public Wi-Fi networks with some 26 million users logging-in per month, downloading 9,431TB of aggregated data consumption.

Initially, the project covered 98 stations but has since been rolled out to a further 711. In addition, 809 rural stations are being covered. By the end of this month, there will be some 1,500 stations offering high-speed free Wi-Fi to travellers. Eventuall,y the project will cover 4,200 stations.

Ingeniously, RailTel is the only Indian government company to be consistently profitable and debt-free, is offering its high-speed Internet connections to businesses, schools and colleges close to the stations via their retail brand Railwire. The company gives customers the chance to plug into RailTel’s massive fibre-optic backbone.

In effect, the high-speed Wi-Fi connections at the stations, all branded to Railwire, act as a marketing tool for the wider network services. The passengers can gain high-speed access, at speeds of 30Mbps to 40Mbps on the platform for the first 30 minutes, the service then reverts to a differentiated system for the next 24 hours, still free. However, the idea is that users will emerge from the journeys impressed by the speed of Railwire’s connections.

The company offers free content for schools and colleges on its websites, as well as providing access to many of the Indian Government’s digital services for the sub-continent’s huge population. Passengers also connect to Railwire to download movies, songs and games and stream high-definition videos, as well as engaging with work. The backbone network to each station is 1Gbps.

Environmentalists oppose proposed Mysuru-Kushalnagar Rail Line

BENGALURU:  Environmentalists say that though the state government had given an assurance in the Karnataka High Court that there was no plan for the Mysuru-Kushalnagar rail line, the Railway Board has sanctioned the much opposed 87km new railway project. Last July, Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS) had filed a PIL against the proposed line citing that it was interconnected to Thalassery-Mysuru rail project and would cause irreparable damage to the flora and fauna of Kodagu. Later, the case was dismissed by the HC but the Judge had given the option to CWS to come back in the event of the project taking off.

As per the Railway Board, the authority had accorded approval for inclusion of Mysuru (Belagola)-Kushalnagar new line project traversing 87km at a cost of Rs 1,854.62 crore. The finance directorate of the Ministry of Railways too had concurred with the new project. Coming down heavily on Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, one of the environmentalists said, “Despite opposition, the railway authorities and the MP have silently pushed the project.

We will have to take the legal route to stop this project that will sound the death knell for Kodagu. This sanction has come just before the Lok Sabha polls. Is it a political gimmick?” Col Muthanna of Coorg Wildlife Society said as per information accessed through RTI, the project will entail a 1.2km tunnel that will affect Dubare forests. He said, “This will lead to conflict, with movement of elephants being affected in this area.

We need to get more details about the project because once this line goes through, there is no guarantee that this will not expand to Madikeri and then to Kerala.”This project has been mired in controversy since it was taken up decades back. The preliminary survey held in 2011 had concluded that the route was unprofitable and so the project was shelved. Subsequently, the project was revived and one more survey was held in 2014 amid protests from citizens and environmental groups.

Piyush Goel lays Foundation Stone for 240 km-long Railway Track from Khalilabad to Bahraich

The approved line is passing through the district Shravasti (Bhinga), which is an important tourist place and closely associated with the life of Gautam Buddha. The 240.26km broad gauge line will be developed with an investment of Rs49.39bn ($675m). The new track will connect remote areas of five districts – Sant Kabirnagar, Siddarthnagar, Balrampur, Shrawasti and Bahraich – and will be completed by 2024-25.

SANT KABIRNAGAR: Railway Minister Piyush Goel Saturday laid the foundation stone for a 240 km-long railway track from Khalilabad to Bahraich.

The railway track will be constructed at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore. The new track will connect remote areas of five districts — Sant Kabirnagar, Siddarthnagar, Balrampur, Shrawasti and Bahraich — and will be completed by 2024-25.

Addressing the public after laying the foundation stone, Goel said with the formation of Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the state is seeing “double-engine development”. He said that no farmers’ agitation took place for fertilisers in the past five years and several development projects were undertaken in the interest of people.

“So, I hope that the BJP and its allies will win all seats in Uttar Pradesh in the coming elections,” he said. Earlier, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said Purvanchal has now become a centre of development work and this has been made possible because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Scheduled to be completed between 2024–25, the line will pass through five districts in Uttar Pradesh, including four aspirational districts of Bahraich, Balrampur, Shravasti and Siddharth Nagar, as well as Sant Kabirnagar.

Forming part of India’s North Eastern Railway, the Bahraich-Khalilabad line is expected to generate employment during construction.

The line will provide basic infrastructure support for industrial development with socio-economic outputs, offer an alternative route to Bahraich-Khalilabad and connect border districts.

In a statement, the Indian Government said: “The approved line is passing through the district Shravasti (Bhinga), which is an important tourist place and closely associated with the life of Gautam Buddha.

“Shravasti is also an important tourist centre for Jains as the Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath.

“The Devi Patan temple in Tulsipur, which is close to Balrampurtown, is one of the famous 51 Shakti Peethas of MaaDurga. The line will promote tourism in the region.”

Last month, the Government of India approved a Rs59.51bn ($820m) railway electrified line project in the state of Chhattisgarh.

The project will see the construction of railway connectivity on a 294.53km route from Katghora to Dongargarh.

Stone laying for new Rail Line from Dharmapuri to Morappur today

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal will lay the foundation for the 36-km long Dharmapuri-Morappur new railway line, in Dharmapuri on Monday. New railway line to link Morappur and Dharmapuri, save 81 km.

DHARMAPURI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal will lay the foundation for the 36-km long Dharmapuri (Bangalore Division/SWR) gto Morappur (Salem Division/SR) new railway line, in Dharmapuri on Monday.

According to a release, the minister will also participate in a function at Egmore through video-conferencing, where he will announce the extension of Tambaram-Tirunelveli Antyodaya Express to Nagercoil and also flag off train no.16101/16102 Chennai Egmore-Kollam daily express train.

The 36km railway line, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 358 .95 Crore will reduce travel distance between the two towns by more than 80km and connect Southern Railway with South West Railway. It will pass through plains and agricultural lands and will have two major bridges, 24 minor bridges including five rail over-bridges and 15 rail under-bridges. “The section will also have two crossing stationsRanimukkanur and Mukkanur. All the stations will be equipped with passenger amenities,” a statement said.

The railway line has been a long-pending demand of the region because the current railway route between Dharmapuri and Morappur is through Salem and is 117km long. “This will help trade by allowing cheaper transport between the two stations for people and goods. It will also be an alternative route to the Bengaluru-Hosur industrial corridor. More importantly, it will connect Dharmapuri with Chennai,” said a railway official.

Speaking while laying the foundation stone on Monday, Goyal said the new railway line will be ready at the earliest. At the event, the minister also announced the extension of Tambaram–Tirunelveli Antyodaya train to Nagercoil and flagged off Chennai Egmore–Kollam Daily Express through video conferencing. “The doubling with electrification of the Hosur–Bangalore section has also been sanctioned. The Chennai-Palakkad super fast express train will also be stopped at Morappur, as per the request of the Dharmapuri people,” he said.

Lok Sabha MP Anbumani Ramadoss said the project, which was restored after 78 years, will benefit Dharmapuri district economically and socially.

As part of the development of 36 km new line, two major bridges, 24 minor bridges, five road over bridges and 15 road under bridges will be built. The section will have two level-crossings at Ranimukkanur and Mukkanur.

The extension of Antyodaya Express to Nagercoil is expected to provide better connectivity between Central districts with Nagercoil, the release said.

Railways raises PE to lay 295-km Track in Chhattisgarh

In 2017, the railways, in a PPP, leased out the operation and maintenance of Habibganj station to Bansal Group

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has raised private equity in a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Chhattisgarh Katghora-Dongarhgarh Railway Limited, for laying railway tracks in a move set to change the funding landscape for the national carrier and pave the way for further such investments. Until now, railway tracks have been made and laid solely from public funding and owned by Indian Railways.

The first part-private funded railtrack will come up on a 295-km Katghora-Dongargarh corridor in Chhattisgarh at a cost of 5,950 crore.

According to the plan, 25% of the project cost— around  1,487 crore—would be shared among the four entities, with the Chhattisgarh government and Indian Railways buying in 24% equity each in the SPV and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) and ACB India Private Limited (a coal and power generation company) holding 26% equity each. The remaining 75%,  4,463 crore, will be raised through debt from financial institutions.

The Katghora-Dongargarh railway corridor project is expected to be completed in four-and-a-half years and will connect Katghora with the Mumbai-Howrah trunk line. Work on the project is likely to start in December.

Apart from freight traffic, movement of two passenger trains per day in each direction is also envisaged.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu initiated a joint venture programme between Indian Railways and states in 2016. Within two years of the programme, around 20 state governments have come on board with Indian Railways to invest in rail infrastructure. The Chhattisgarh rail corridor was cleared by the Cabinet on 26 September .

Before this programme, railway tracks could be charted and developed only by Indian Railways. With this scheme, for the first time state governments have been given the opportunity to chalk out railway infrastructure by providing some equity, either through funds or land.

“This is the first project of its kind and magnitude to be undertaken through the state joint venture route and also private equity. There are more partnerships on the anvil and it includes names such as Maruti, as well as various cement companies,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity. The model is drawing attention in the market, he said.

Queries emailed to the corporate communication division of Maruti and the offices of Mahagenco and ACB India remained unanswered till press time.

While the government may deny that there are plans to privatize Indian Railways, it seems backdoor opportunities are being explored and implemented to skirt around any opposition or obstruction.

In 2017, Indian Railways, in a public-private partnership, leased out the operation and maintenance of Habibganj railway station to the Bansal Group, a Madhya Pradesh-based construction and real estate builder, for eight years as part of the station’s redevelopment plans. The Bansal group received four land parcels in and around the railway station complex on a 45-year lease to build a swanky commercial hub with shops, offices and hotels, in lieu of developing Habibganj station with modern amenities for Indian Railways.

Piyush Goyal launches a New Facility for Public Viewing of Train Charts & Vacant Berths

The Facility will provide Information of the Vacant Berths available in the Train after Chart preparation
The Customer can use the Information for Online Booking of Vacant Berths or through TTE as per Business Rules
This Facility will also display Coach Layout of 9 Classes used in the Reserved Trains of Indian Railways and more than 120 different Coach Layouts

NEW DELHI: To enhance travel experience and bring greater transparency for Indian Railway passengers, Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal launched a new facility for Public Viewing of Train Charts and Vacant Berths. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri V.K. Yadav, Member Traffic, Railway Board, Shri Girish Pillai, other Railway Board Members and Sr. Officials from Railways were also present on the occasion.

The information about occupancy in trains as per Passenger Reservation Charts will now be available for public view on the internet through IRCTC website (www.irctc.co.in). This will facilitate the prospective passengers in getting the information of the vacant berths available in the train after chart preparation. Complete information of vacant berths from train source as well as intermediate locations will be available to the user. Prospective customer can use the information for online booking of vacant berths or through TTE as per business rules. This feature is available in web as well as mobile version.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal said that it is another step to introduce transparency in the system and to add comfort to the travel experience of the passengers. He added that by introducing this new online platform for public viewing of train charts will put the practice of searching a Ticket collector in the moving train to an end. This new feature in ticketing system is a dynamic system which will keep upgrading itself as the train proceeds for the destination and make it more transparent as passengers can see the real time availability of berths.

The Minister also announced that IRCTC shall soon add 30 kitchen base and all kitchen bases will equipped with cameras for public viewing. Biodegradable packing of food prepared in these kitchen bases is also being planned so the quality of food is not lost during the transit. He announced that PoS machines will be made available to all TTEs and Catering staff onboard.

The Minister added that transparency and accountability are the guiding principles of this Government. He expressed the hope that we will keep taking further steps to ensure Minimum Government, Maximum Governance in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Girish Pillai, Member Traffic, Railway Board said, “Entire effort is to make reservation process as transparent as possible and comfortable to the public. The biggest advantage is passenger can see which berth is available even after second charts are made”. He also added in 20 days all Rajdhani & Shatabdi trains tickets can be booked even after second charts which are released 30 minutes before the departure of the train.

Backgrounder:

The user-friendly interface will give a graphical representation of the train coaches and berth-wise accommodation status on www.irctc.co.in website. The system displays coach layout of 9 classes used in the reserved trains of Indian Railways and more than 120 different coach layouts have been incorporated.

This feature displays class wise and coach wise full vacant berth availability information as per the ‘First Chart’ of the train. ‘First Chart’ is prepared four hours in advance to train departure. If the ‘Second Chart’ is also prepared, then the option to view the details of vacant berth available at the time of ‘Second Chart’ will also be displayed. The ‘Second Chart’ is prepared about 30 minutes prior to the departure of the train, to accommodate the information of current reservations and cancellations done after ‘First Chart’. Both the charts will get updated for every charting location as the train heads towards its destination.

How to access:

  • On the home page of irctc.co.in a new option to view “CHARTS / VACANCY” will be available.
  • On click of this option, journey details such as train number, journey date and boarding station will be taken from the user and on entering the same the user will be able to see class-wise and coach-wise number of vacant berths.
  • The user can further click on a specific coach to see the coach layout along with berth-wise accommodation status like occupied for full journey, occupied for part journey and vacant for full journey.

Salient features:

Customer friendly flow:

  • Availability of complete data on single click of button
  • Simple flow

Enhanced Visual Experience

  • Visual representation of coaches
  • Coach layout view
  • Data also presented in tabular form with filters on each column.

State of art technology

  • Use of “React JS” Javascript library and HTML canvas for creating interactive User Interface.

Indian Railway partners with Assam Govt to promote Awesome Assam – Brand Promotion through Train

GUWAHATI: Use of Indian Railway train to promote brands and products is an innovative idea forwarded and offered to State Governments across the country. Realising the potential, Tourism Department of Assam has decided to use three N.F. Railway trains to promote its “Awesome Assam” branding.

12552 / 12551 Kamakhya – Yasvantpur – Kamakhya AC Express today became the first such train in whole Indian Railway to be fully branded with a State Government publicity campaign. The newly branded train was flagged off by Shri Chandan Brahma, Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Assam, Shri Jayanta Malla Baruah, Chairperson, Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Assam, Shri Sanjive Roy, General Manager, N.F. Railway alongwith other senior officials of Assam govt. and N.F. Railways were present on the occasion.

The idea of vinyl wrapping of trains, to tap the limitless potential of using train exteriors as a medium of advertisement was initiated by the Railway Minister. The procedures were simplified by bringing the branding tariffs based on per train basis recently. After this simplification, Assam became the first state to grab the opportunity to use this unique advertising medium by fully branding the train for propagation of the “Awesome Assam” campaign.  This train plying out of Assam travels to Bangalore at a distance of 3025 km passing through many cities and towns all over India. So there is very good prospects that the campaign through train will provide a quantum boost to the tourism sector of Assam because of its high visibility.

It can be mentioned here that, while the 12552 / 12551 Kamakhya – Yasvantpur – Kamakhya AC Express will cover the route towards South India, there are plan to use other trains moving to destinations like Mumbai (Western India), Katra (North India) etc for propagating the “Awesome Assam” campaign literally covering the whole country.

Railway Minister announces “South East Coast Railway (SECoR)” a new Zone of Indian Railways

NEW DELHI/VISAKHAPATNAM: As per Item-8 of Schedule-13 (Infrastructure) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, Indian Railways was required to examine establishing a new Railway Zone in the successor State of Andhra Pradesh.

The matter has been examined in detail by Ministry of Railways in consultation with stake holders and it has been decided to go ahead with creation of a new Railway Zone with Headquarter at Visakhapatnam.

The new zone named “South East Coast Railway (SECoR)”, will comprise of existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada Railway Divisions.

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Waltair Division (Visakhapatnam) shall be split into two parts – one part of Waltair Division will be incorporated in the new zone i.e. in South East Coast Railway and will be merged with the neighbouring Vijaywada Division.

Remaining portion of Waltair Division shall be converted into a new division with headquarter at Rayagada under East Coast Railway (ECoR).

In lieu of the creation of a new SECoR Railway Zone, South Central Railway will be comprising of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded Divisions.

Delinking KK and KR lines from new rail zone opposed. ‘Bifurcation of Waltair Division renders the zone unviable’

The Uttarandhra Rakshana Vedika (URV) on Wednesday opposed the de-linking of the Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK) and Koraput-Rayagada (KR) railway lines from the new South Coast zone announced with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters.

Stating that the BJP should fulfil the promise made during the 2014 elections, URV president S.S. Shiva Sankar stated in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the zone was a long-time demand of the local people. The zone was guaranteed under Section 93 of the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014, he added. “Railway zone has been a long-pending demand of the people from the Visakhapatnam region. Without the KK and KR lines, it will not be viable,” he said. No division was ever bifurcated at the time of carving new zones.

AP loses Rs 7000 Crore with formation of new railway zone: TDP MP Ram Mohan Naidu

After five long years of fighting against the central government, now at the time of elections BJP has declared new railway zone at Visakhapatnam, said Srikakulam TDP MP Ram Mohan Naidu.

The railway zone looks like an entry ticket for PM Narendra Modi into Andhra Pradesh. MP said, regarding the Vizag railway zone, he has raised the question many times in the Parliament.

Though its the happy time that we have finally got the railway zone to the state, but there are some issues on which the central government should give clarity, he said.

Ram Mohan Naidu seriously condemns for removing the Waltair Division name completely. The decision which Modi government has taken now is only a political decision.

In 2014, when they have demanded the railway zone, why the center has not given, he questioned. As TDP fought strongly against Modi, that’s why they have given the new railway zone.

MP Naidu has demanded the BJP government to fulfill all the promises made in the state bifurcation act.

2000 Meter Long Train ran on ECoR first time on Experimental Basis

BHUBANESWAR: With a view to providing less manpower and economic path utilisation, East Coast Railway has run 3 train rakes at a time on an experimental basis for the first time. The length of complete train was about 2000 meter long.

The train consisting of 147 Wagons, 03 Brake/Guard Vans and 04 Engines was planned to run on experimental basis between Godbhaga and Balangir Stations in Sambalpur Railway Division. The first rake of 45 Flat Wagons loaded with Containers and the second & third empty rakes of 51 Alumina Containers each are going towards Visakhapatnam Port.

Running of this train on experimental basis has utilised less manpower, run on a single Signal and Single Closure of Level Crossings.

East Coast Railway to install Automatic Coach Washing Plant at Puri and Visakhapatnam

BHUBANESWAR: ECoR has decided to go in for installation of Automatic Coach Washing Plant at Puri and Visakhapatnam Coach Maintenance Depots.  For this, East Coast Railway has already placed orders with COFMOW (Central Organisation for Modernization of Workshops), New Delhi, an Autonomous Organization under Ministry of Railways.  The estimated cost of each Automatic Coach Washing plant is approximately Rs. 2 Crores.  Tenders have been finalized by COFMOW and it is expected that the plant would be set up at Puri latest by December 2019.  Similar position expected for Visakhapatnam also.  In fact, the Firm has already completed site visit at Puri.  These Plants are being processed under Environment Management Programmes.  It is expected that there will be less fresh water consumption in the cleaning of Coaches.  The coach exterior will get properly cleaned.  It will also clean dust, dirt and other such deposits.  The cleaning of coach/ train will be done while passing through a nominated line of the coach maintenance depot.  While at present, the coaches are being cleaned in static or stationary position.  A suitable alkaline detergent compatible with the body and paint of the coach will be used for washing.

 There will an effluent treatment plan which will treat the water for its repeated use, thereby conserving the precious water.  In this mode of operation, huge brushes   would be fixed to various machines which will be designed in such a manner that they clean the coach body side walls.  It is expected that each empty train rake would be cleaned in about 20 Minutes time.   There would be a number of sensors which would work as and when there is movement in the nominated line through the plant.

 Ultrasonic devices and Photoelectric cells would be provided in the set up.

Similar Coach washing Plants are being processed at Bhubaneswar and MEMU Shed at Khurda Road.  This model of Automatic Coach Washing Plant is working successfully at WADI in Central Railway.

 Efforts in this direction are being made by the Mechanical Department of East Coast Railway led by Shri Manas Poddar, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer.

Railways to launch a massive Recruitment Drive to fill up its vacancies in various essential categories of posts

An Indicative Notice published in Employment News on the forthcoming recruitment on 23rd Feb, 2019. There are expected to be 1,30,000 vacancies in Indian Railways in this recruitment driveFor the first time there will be reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) candidates

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Railways is going to launch a massive recruitment drive to fill up its vacancies in various categories of posts which are essential for smooth and safe running of trains.

On 23.02.2019, an IndicativeNotice will be published in Employment News on the forthcoming recruitments. Indian Railways has over 1.3 lakh vacancies in different departments which needed to be filled up.

The eligible candidates for the first tranche of recruitments in Non-Technical Popular Categories can do registration of online applications from 28.02.2019. The posts included in these categories are Junior Clerk cum Typist, Accounts Clerk cum Typist, Trains Clerk, Commercial cum Ticket Clerk, Traffic Assistant, Goods Guard, Senior Commercial cum Ticket Clerk, Senior Clerk cum Typist, Junior Account Assistant cum Typist, Commercial Apprentice, Station Master etc.

The next tranche of recruitment will be available for online registration with effect from 04.03.2019, in Paramedical categories like Staff Nurse, Health & Malaria Inspector, Pharmacist, ECG Technician, Lab Assistant, Lab Superintendent, etc.

On 08.03.2019, online registration will open for candidates eligible for Ministerial and Isolated Categories like Stenographer, Chief Assistant, Junior Translator (Hindi) etc.

In all, there are expected to be 30,000 vacancies in the above three recruitments.

In addition, the Ministry of Railways will also recruit about 1 lakh staff in Level-1 (erstwhile Group-DCategories) for which online registration would open on 12.03.2019.

There will be reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) (non creamy layer) and for the first time there will be reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) candidates. Besides, there will be reservation of posts for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD), Ex-Serviceman (ExSM).Besides, for Level-1 post, there will reservation for Course Completed Act Apprentices (CCAA).The vacancies in the above categories, except Level-1, will be available on Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) websites, after opening of online registration for the respective category.The vacancies of Level-1 will be available on website of Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC). Applications for all post will be accepted online only.

Indian Railways is already in the process of recruiting over 1.5 lakhs candidates in various safety categories like Assistant Loco Pilot and Technicians, Safety Category posts of Operating Department and Technical Department such as Civil Engineering, Electrical, Mechanical, Signal & Telecommunication, in both the Level-1 and Supervisory Categories. This also includes over 10,000 recruitments in Railway Protection Force organization.

Indian Railways is Leveraging Technology to Achieve speed of 160 kmph for Passenger Trains

Sri Vishwesh Chaube, Member Engineering released IPWE souvenir at Seminar on “Challenges in introducing speed of 160 kmph for passenger trains &100 kmph for High Axle Load Freight Traffic on Indian Railways

HYDERABAD: Indian Railways is leveraging technology for reducing the reliance on human interface and efficient allocation of resources to improve safety, said Sri Vishwesh Chaube, Member Engineering, Railway Board. He also stated that higher speed of 160kmph would warrant a situation where manual inspections and patrolling of track will not be possible without controlling traffic. Shri Vishwesh Chaube delivered key note address at the International Technical Seminar on “Challenges in introducing speed of 160 kmph for passenger trains and 100 kmph for High Axle Load Freight Traffic and Innovative Technologies for fast paced construction on Indian Railways” today i.e., 22nd February, 2019 at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad. Sri S.N.Agrawal, Member Staff, Railway Board was the Guest of Honour and Sri Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, South Central Railway attended as Special Invitee. Around 600 delegates from all over the Indian Railways and production units and foreign countries have participated in the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion he stated that the present day track structure on Indian Railways requires mechanized maintenance. Indian Railways is having a fleet of 916 track machines at present and it will be doubled in the next three years and it is being planned for complete mechanization with about 2850 machines by the year 2024. Track component monitoring system with machine vision fitted on LHB OMS coaches, automated ballast unloading hoppers, long rail panel unloading systems etc are under process of induction. For running 160kmph speed trains, isolation of track from surrounding is mandatory and construction of boundary wall/fencing is essential. During 2018-19 FY works worth more that Rs.3000 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Gajanan Mallya General Manager stated that, the rail net work in the country is highly congested and up gradation of infrastructure facilities to meet the expectations of the travelling passengers and freight customers is the need of the hour. He also stated that technical seminars on challenges being faced will certainly help in innovations and contributes to the might of the Indian Railways.

Speaking on the occasion Shri S.N.Agrawal stated that,  running of semi speed and high speed trains is very essential to meet the expectations of present day generation and running of higher axle load freight trains is essential for the organization. Assent maintenance and protection of track shall be given priority.

During the daylong session on the 1st day, Technical Papers presentation and deliberations are carried out on the subject topics on introduction of higher speeds for passenger and goods trains.

A Technical Exhibition has also been inaugurated by the Chief Guest Sri Vishwesh Chaube where innovative, modern equipments and track components etc., developed by various industries and SC Railway departmentally were exhibited. The exhibition will contribute for exchange of innovative ideas for implementation.

The Chief Guest has released various web apps and items like IPWE Souvenir, Technical Diary, Work site safety pamphlet, e-learning website of IPWE, e-release of Technical Proceedings of IPWE & Knowledge Bank App.

The Chief Guest also presented Best Paper IPWE 2018 Awards to Shri Naveen Chopra, PCE/NR & Shri Ashish Bansal, CE/TM/NR, Shri Anurag Kumar Sachan, Shri R.P.Tiwari, Director/TM/RDSO & Shri Rahul Singh, Joint Director/TM/RDSO.  VCA Padmanabhan Memorial Cash Award IPWE exam 2017-18 to Shri Pradipta Chokraborty & Shri Rajroop Ghosh.

Important presentations were made on topics like:

  • Challenges in introducing speed of 160 kmph for passenger trains and 100 kmph for high axle freight on IR.
  • Design & Development of New Track Components including wider & heavier PSC Sleeper and Fastening System suitable for Semi-high speed and heavy Axle Load.
  • Innovative approaches / method adopted in fast pace construction of RUBs to achieve huge target elimination of UMLCs on SCRly.
  • Fast Track construction in dedicated freight corridor.
  • IT enablement of Engineering Department on IR-status & Road map ahead.

The Seminar is being organized under the guidance of Sri K.V.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer, South Central Railway & Chairman, IPWE(I), South Central Railway Center.

Railway Electrification works gaining Momentum on NFR

MALIGAON: The railway electrification works in N.F. Railway are in various stages of execution in various sections. It is expected that major portion of the work to be completed by this year. In this connection a review meeting was held on 16th January which was attended by Shri Sanjive Roy, GM/NFR, Shri Ratan Lal, GM/CORE, Divisional Railway Managers from Katihar, Alipurduar, Rangiya and Lumding Divisions apart from other senior officials from RVNL and CORE. In the meeting all the aspects of railway electrification works were discussed for speedy implementation and removal of bottlenecks. And various initiatives were taken for timely completion of the work.

The targets for completion of various sections are follows:

  1. Mukuria – Gunjaria (198 kms) by 31.03.2019
  2. Gunjaria – New Jalpaiguri (160 kms) by 31.03.2019
  3. New Jalpaiguri – Raninagar Jalpaiguri (102 kms) by 31.03.2019
  4. Raninagar Jalpaiguri – Falakata (80 kms) by 31.03.2019
  5. Falakata – New Coochbehar (80 kms) by 31.06.2019
  6. New Bongaigaon – Sarupeta ( 99 kms) by 31.03.2019
  7. New Bongaigaon – Jogighopa (43 kms) by 31.03.2019
  8. Guwahati – Narengi (45 kms) by 31.03.2019
  9. New Jalpaiguri station yard (49 kms) by 31.06.2019

It may be mentioned here that the entire portion of track including branch lines in NFR was sanctioned for 100% electrification in last year’s budget.  Total cost of the entire electrification work is Rs. 2,542.62 crs

The entire mainline was segregated into different sections for speedy implementation of work. Works are being implemented by CORE (Centre for Railway Electrification) and RVNL (Railway Vikas Nigam Limited). Section from Mukuria to Raninagar Jalpaiguri including New Jalpaiguri yard (597 track kms) are being done by CORE. From Raninagar Jalpaiguri to Sarupeta (259 track kms) are being done by RVNL. Work of New Bongaigaon – Jogighopa & Guwahati – Narengi portion will also to be done by CORE.

Principal COM/SCR holds Meeting with CMD/Singareni Collieries

SECUNDERABAD: N. Madhusudhana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager, South Central Railway held a meeting with N. Sridhar, Chairman & Managing Director (CMD),  Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) today i.e., 5th February, 2019 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad. The meeting was held in anticipation of the increased production of coal by SCCL for the next two months and the cooperation of SCR to transport the incremental production.

SCCL transported coal at an average of 30 rakes (rake-full length freight train consisting of 59 wagons with an average loading capacity of 4000 Tonnes) per day during the month of September, 2018. The same was increased to 40 rakes during the month of January, 2019.

In anticipation of the increased production of coal by SCCL during the next two months, CMD/SCCL has sought the cooperation of SCR to transport an average of 45 rakes per day in February and March, 2019. N. Madhusudhana Rao assured SCCL all the cooperation in transporting higher volumes of coal. He sought SCCL to provide flexibility in choosing the destinations for the coal loaded rakes so as to improve efficiency in handling the rake movement. He also sought SCCL to expedite the line capacity works in the Godavarikhani and Goleti mines areas of the Ramagundam region for better connectivity.

Nagya, Chief Freight Traffic Manager, SCR, Shri N. Manoj, Sr.DOM/SC, Shri Allwyn, Executive Director, Coal, SCCL and Shri Antony Raja, General Manager (Strategic Planning & Marketing), SCCL were present during the meeting.

Railways could further benefit the environment, says new report

The UIC has participated in the IEA ‘Future of Rail’ report in New Delhi, which includes a central focus on India, where rail is the dominant mode of transport.
India’s Minister of Railways, Shri Piyush Goyal (centre left) and IEA Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol (centre right) at the launch of the Future of Rail in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: According to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), prepared in cooperation with the International Union of Railways (UIC), rail is among the most energy-efficient modes of transport for freight and passengers, however is often neglected in public debate.

Released in New Delhi by IEA Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol, the ‘Future of Rail’ report is the latest in the IEA series that focuses on “blind spots” in the energy system.

The transport sector is responsible for almost one-third of final energy demand, nearly two-thirds of oil demand and nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion. Therefore, changes in transportation are fundamental to achieving energy transitions. While the rail sector carries eight per cent of the world’s passengers and seven per cent of global freight transport, it represents only two per cent of total transport energy demand, highlighting its efficiency.

“The rail sector can provide substantial benefit to the energy sector as well as the environment,” said Dr Fatih Birol. “By diversifying energy sources and providing more efficient mobility, rail can lower transport energy use and reduce carbon dioxide and local pollutant emissions.”

The Future of Rail includes a Base Scenario that projects the evolution of the railway sector to 2050 on the basis of announced policies, regulations and projects. It also includes a High Rail Scenario to demonstrate the energy and environmental benefits of a more significant shift of passengers and goods to rail transport. While the High Rail Scenario requires about 60 per cent more investment than in the Base Scenario, global CO2 emissions from transport peak in the late 2030s, air pollution is reduced and oil demand is lowered.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, said: “It is recognised that the sustainable development goals for the global railway sector are achievable, such as: Rail as the safest mode of transport, rail reduces congestion, rail improves access to mobility, railway companies are responsible and attractive employers (rail is the largest employer in India) and last but not least, rail has a low impact on the environment and climate change.

“In the High Rail Scenario, by minimising cost per passenger or tonne kilometre, maximising revenues from stations and ensuring that all modes of transport pay for the negative impacts that they generate (polluter pays principle), an aggressive deployment of rail could lead to a peak of CO2emissions in transport. This scenario leads to the reduction and shift of 11.5 trillion passenger kilometres from airplanes, cars and two/three-wheelers, and 7.4 trillion tonne kilometres from trucks in 2050.”

Rail remains the primary transport mode in India, providing vital connections within and between cities and regions, and guaranteeing affordable passenger mobility that has long been a government priority. Rail passenger traffic in India has increased by almost 200 per cent since 2000 yet prospects for future growth remain bright. Construction has started on India’s first high-speed rail line, the total length of metro lines is set to more than triple in the next few years, and two dedicated freight corridors are on track to enter operation by 2020.

In all countries the future of the rail sector will be determined by how it responds to both rising transport demand and rising pressure from competing transport modes. Rising incomes and populations in developing and emerging economies, where cities are growing exponentially, are set to lead to strong demand for more efficient, faster and cleaner transportation, but the need for speed and flexibility tend to favour car ownership and air travel.

Rs.7,010 Crore allotted to East Coast Railway in interim Union Budget

Allotment for new lines this year has been pegged at Rs 2,630 crore which is 67 per cent more than the last year’s provision. Stating this, ECoR in a statement said this includes all budgetary heads including projects, electrification, passenger amenities, workshops, track and staff amenities in its jurisdiction, which covers most parts of Odisha.

HAJIPUR: Allotment of funds to the tune of Rs 7,010 crore has been made in the interim Union budget for East Coast Railway (ECoR), which is 13 per cent more than last year’s provision.

Stating this, ECoR in a statement said this includes all budgetary heads including projects, electrifications, passenger amenities, workshops, track and staff amenities in its jurisdiction, which covers most parts of Odisha.

Allotment for new lines this year has been pegged at Rs 2,630 crore which is 67 per cent more than the last year’s provision, it said.

A new 14.5 km line has been sanctioned between Talcher and Angul with an estimated project cost of Rs 278 crore, it said adding that the allotment for passenger amenities is to the tune of Rs 181 crore, up from Rs 82 crore provided last year, an increase of 119 per cent.

At least six other new railway line projects find place in the interim Union budget. These include 98.7 km-long Angul-Sukinda Road with a budget grant of Rs 250 crore, Haridaspur-Paradip (82 km) with Rs 400 crore and Khurda Road-Balangir (289 km) with Rs 350 crore.

Similarly, 154 km Talcher-Bimalagarh line has been allotted an amount of Rs 150 crore, while Jeypore-Malkanagiri (127 km) has got Rs 70 crore and Jeypore-Nawarangpur (38 km) granted Rs 10 crore, the ECoR release said.

A total of over Rs 1,685 crore has been allotted for several doubling and third line projects including Sambalpur-Talcher (174.11 km), Sambalpur-Titlagarh (182.11KMs), Bansapani-Daitari-Tomka-Jakhapura (180 KM), Bhadrak-Nergundi-3rdLine (80 km), Vizianagaram-Sambalpur 3rd Line.

The other projects are Jarapada-Budhapank 3rd & 4th Line, Budhapank-Salegaon 3rd & 4th Line, Koraput-Singapur Road, Manoharpur-Bandhamunda 3rd Line, Rourkela-Jharsuguda 3rd Line and Bandhamunda-Rourkela 4th Line, it added.

Nepal starts Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway Procurement process, approaches Indian companies

KHATMANDU: Nepal has started the procurement process to launch railway services from Janakpur in Nepal to Jayanagar Railway Station on the Samathipur Division of East Central Railway of Indian Railways in India, for which Indian companies have been approached.

The Government of Nepal had, on January 13, gave a go-ahead for the procurement process following which the Department of Railways, under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, started preparations for the purchase of rails.

“The Department has sent proposals to Indian government companies towards that end, and some of them have responded to the proposals,” the state news agency RSS reported.

Though the Government of Nepal allocated NRs 500 million for the purchase of two trains for the service, the Department has stated that at least NRs 1.5 billion would be required for the purchase of rails.

The newly upgraded railway line between Nepal and India would cover a total distance of 35 kilometres in the first phase, for which the trial has already been carried out. The total length of the Bardibas-Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha-Bijayapura is 69 kilometres.

Moula-Ali Railway Station developed as “ADARSH STATION”- Improved with Additional Passenger Amenities

SECUNDERABAD: Moula-Ali station is an important Non suburban grade – 5 Railway station. This station is located on the busiest rail corridor Secunderabad-Kazipet section of Secunderabad Division.

In the recent past, surrounding areas of this station have seen rapid progress with establishment of thickly populated residential colonies. On an average more than 10 Express trains and several passenger trains arrive/depart from this station. The average traffic dealt at this station is 2500 passengers per day. In order to cater the passenger growth this station is developed as Adarsh station and several enhanced passenger amenities and facilities are provided at Moula-Ali Railway station with an expenditure of Rs. 3.5 Crores. The Adarsh Station  works have been sanctioned in the financial year 2016-17.

Improved facilities provided at Moula-ali station

  • Improvement to façade of station building.
  • Waiting room for travelling passengers.
  • Earmarked parking facilities for Divyangjan and others.
  • Non slippery walkway from parking lot to station building.
  • Ramps for entry of Divyangjan and senior citizens.
  • Modern and elegant Signage boards.
  • Pay and Use Toilets.
  • Improvements to platform surface.
  • Platform wall with land scaping.
  • Adequate drinking water arrangements.
  • Improvement to booking and enquiry offices.
  • In addition, a Foot over Bridge is under construction at an estimated cost of Rs 1.6 crore which is nearing completion. This is a long pending demand from the passengers of this region.
  • With this, a total of 67 stations are developed as Adarsh stations on the South Central Railway.

Train Operations in Kusunda–Sonardih of Dhanbad–Chandrapura section to be opened for Rail Traffic

NEW DELHI: Dhanbad-Chandrapura Railway line of Dhanbad Division of East Central Railway is passing over coal bearing area of Jharia Coal Field. The operation of passenger and goods traffic on the line was stopped w.e.f. 15.06.2017, on the report of Director General of Mine Safety (DGMS). Subsequently, on the certificate from DGMS, different sections of the line between Dhanbad-Kusunda, Sonardih-Chandrapura & Katrasgarh-Nichitpur link line were opened for traffic between June to November 2017.

Recently, authorization for reopening of the remaining section for goods & passenger trains between Kusunda- Sonardih has been received from Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, after joint inspection with DGMS. Some works have been identified for repair and rehabilitation of this line. After completion of these works, the section will be opened for traffic by East Central Railway.

Bhilai Steel Plant dispatches over 1 Lakh Tonnes of Prime Rails to Indian Railways in Jan 2019

BHILAIFollowing Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) dispatching over 1 lakh tonnes of rails to the Indian Railways in the just concluded January 2019, the entire senior management team of BSP led by A K Rath, CEO, BSP started by visiting Sanyantra Bhavan, Steel Melting Shop-2, Rail & Structural Mill (RSM), Universal Rail Mill (URM) and Steel Melting Shop-3 to congratulate and boost the collectives of the different departments that had combined as a team to make this distinguished achievement.

Accompanying Rath were P k Dash, E D (Works), B P Nayak, E D (F&A), A K Kabisatapathy, E D (Projects), Manas Biswas, E D (Mines & Rowghat), K K Singh, ED (P&A), general managers and senior officers of the Plant.

During the course of his visit to different units, instrumental in making this record achievement, Rath congratulated members of Steel Melting Shop-2, Rail & Structural Mill (RSM), Universal Rail Mill (URM) and Steel Melting Shop-3 collectives. He said that this achievement has again emphatically demonstrated the cooperative and collaborative culture of Bhilai Steel Plant. The production and dispatch of more than 10,0000 T rails during Jan 2019 was like breaching a mental barrier. He was emphatic that our collective capabilities are limitless.

Now, that this barrier has been breached we must achieve it consistently in coming months to meet requirement of Indian Railways. He reiterated that in the process of production there can be no compromise with safety.  He strongly urged members of the collective to focus on safety at least for thirty minutes every day, whether by contemplating on its application in our shop floor or by
discussing and sensitizing our colleagues and peers.

Rath said that with the successful surpassing of the one lakh tons monthly production and dispatch of rails, we must now challenge our limits and go beyond this achievement. We must now collectively strive for daily rail production of 2600 T from RSM and 1600 T from URM. He called on the collective of SMS-2 to strike out for achieving the target of 60 heats per month, including 1,50,000 monthly rail blooms. In January 2019, the Rail & Structural Mill and Universal Rail Mill combined to record total dispatches of 1,03,171 Tonnes of rails to Indian Railways.

With this new high in monthly production and dispatches of rails to Indian Railways, SAIL- Bhilai Steel Plant has taken a leap forward in production and dispatches of rails to Indian Railways.

SAIL-Bhilai Steel Plant that produces the world’s longest 130 meter rails in single piece has been supplying world class rails to Indian Railways for more than five decades, meeting all the stringent requirements of quality and length of rails.  Total dispatches of prime rails by Bhilai Steel Plant so far in the current fiscal has been 7,54,708 Tonnes.

Seemanchal Express accident: 7 dead, 29 injured as 11 coaches derail in Bihar on NFR-Katihar Division

KATIHAR: Seven people have died and more than 20 are injured in Bihar after eleven coaches of the Seemanchal Express derailed on Sunday morning. The accident on the Delhi-bound train occurred in Vaishali district of Bihar. The train was running between Jogbani and Anand Vihar Terminal. Railway officials said it was at its full speed when the accident occurred around 3:50am. The Railways has issued helpline numbers to assist the injured and their family members. Teams of NDRF have reached the spot to carry out relief and rescue operations. Indian Railways has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased.

Seemanchal Express accident: Based on initial probe, it has been found that a fracture in railway track caused the accident. Railway track fracture is said to be a common occurrence in the region owing to cold weather conditions in winter.

Indian Railways has arrived at the conclusion after preliminary inquiry as broken pieces of railway tracks have been found on the spot.

Railway track fracture is being reported to be a common occurrence in the region owing to weather conditions. The metallic tracks expand slightly at high temperatures and contract at lower temperatures. In the current season, the cold is said to have caused great strain in the tracks leading to the fracture.

Seven people have died and more than 20 are injured in Bihar after eleven coaches of the Seemanchal Express derailed on Sunday morning. The accident on the Delhi-bound train occurred in Vaishali district of Bihar. The train was running between Jogbani and Anand Vihar Terminal.

Railway officials said it was at its full speed when the accident occurred around 3:50am. The Railways has issued helpline numbers to assist the injured and their family members. Teams of NDRF have reached the spot to carry out relief and rescue operations.

Indian Railways has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased.

Railways did away with atleast 11 of its thousands of unmanned LCs every day during past 10 months

NEW DELHI: Indian railways did away with at least 11 of its thousands of unmanned level crossings every day during the past 10 months to eliminate these death traps.

The last such crossing on broad-gauge lines was converted into a gated one in Allahabad on Thursday, the same day railway minister Piyush Goyal confirmed in his budget speech that these unmanned crossings were a thing of the past.

‘2018 school van accident put manned crossing project on a war footing’

According to railway ministry officials, an accident on April 16, 2018 involving a school van at such a crossing on Kaptanganj-Thawe section in UP that claimed 13 lives was the turning point for putting the focus on quickly doing away with these crossings.

“The ministry had told the Parliament these crossings would be a thing of past by March 2020. But work on a war footing was undertaken to complete the task earlier after the accident,” said an official. The number of accidents at unmanned level crossings has been at an all-time low at only three during this fiscal as compared to 65 in 2009-10.

Sources said in most of the cases either mechanised or manual system of operating gates have been operationalised to stop vehicles from crossing the tracks when trains go past these spots. They added at some crossing, they have route relay interlocking system where the rail traffic flow is higher.

Officials said the railways had zeroed down on four models to eliminate the crossings including merger with another level crossing by constructing diversion road, construction of subway or rail under bridge and manning. The last option was found to be most cost effective and less time taking. Building rail under and over bridges often require land acquisition and other permissions.

“At all manned crossings, the attendants have been deployed who work in shifts and they have been trained properly for the operational responsibilities. The activities involved in manning were provision of gate hut/porta cabins, lifting barrier/ swing gates, telephones and preparation of engineering plan to name a few,” a railway spokesperson said.

He added for timely elimination of UMLCs all general managers were empowered to take decision such as tendering system, grant traffic blocks, speed restriction, sanction of work and technical decisions regarding manning and interlocking.

Moreover, railways deployed ex-servicemen after proper training. “Till removal of all UMLCs, Gate Mitras were deployed at all these spots to counsel the road users,” said an official.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal on Friday had said safety remains the primary focus of the national transporter.

Exclusive: Will appoint 2.20 lakh more staff for Indian Railways, says Piyush Goyal

Indian Railways is already in the process of appointing of 1.5 lakh personnel, which will be complete in the next 8-9 months

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Piyush Goyal speaking exclusively with RailNews said that the Indian Railways will appoint another 2.2 lakh personnel to fill the vacant posts at the national carrier. Worth mentioning here is that the Indian Railways is already in the process of appointing of 1.5 lakh personnel, which will be complete in the next 8-9 months.

“10 days ago I have announced another 2.20 lakh jobs, which includes those which will fall vacant in the next two years. The appointment process will start very soon,” Piyush Goyal said.

Goyal further said that in the next phase of appointment, the government will for the first time introduce 10% quota for the economically backward section from the upper caste who otherwise don’t get any reservation.

It may be noted that last month the parliament passed a bill to provide 10% reservation in government jobs and education to the economically backward section in the general category. President Ram Nath Kovind has already given his assent to the constitutional provision.

The minister highlighted that the government is following a completely computerised process for appointment of Railway personnel, which ensures transparency in the system. “All the results are entirely computer controlled…the entire examination is videographed,” the minister said.

However, Goyal said that the attraction for government jobs is gradually fading up as people want to start something of their own. With 15 crore Mudra loan issued in the country, people are making a life of their own, he added.

“There are people who want to start new enterprises, want to experiment with new ideas,” Goyal said.

Railway Minister launches the IEA’s Report “The Future of Rail”

The huge investment Railways has achieved in the last 5 years has helped us improve safety, complete long-delayed projects and introduce modern & unprecedented technology in services: Shri Piyush Goyal. The indigenously produced Vande Bharat Express is an engineering marvel that will change our approach to train manufacturing as well as revolutionise train travel in India: Shri Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal launched the report “The Future of Rail” of International Energy Agency (IEA) at an event here today. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr. Fatih Birol, Director General, International Union of Railways, Shri Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Members of Railway Board and other Dignitaries from Ministry of Railways and IEA were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal said, today is the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi Ji and Railways played a very important role in the his life, and his journey from Mohan to Mahatma was captured in a tableau during the Republic Day Parade this year. He added that, what Mahatma Gandhi Ji said is still relevant for the entire world. One of his writings quotes: “The Day the Power of Love overrules the Love of Power, the World will know Peace” continues to guide us even today.

He said that this Government led by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi is committed to providing a better future for the country’s youth by combatting climate change and bringing down our emission levels. The huge investment Railways has achieved in the last 5 years has helped us improve safety, complete long-delayed projects and introduce modern & unprecedented technology in services.

Shri Goyal further said that the indigenously produced Vande Bharat Express is an engineering marvel that will change our approach to train manufacturing as well as revolutionise train travel in India. He also highlighted Indian Railway’s successful effort to convert diesel locomotives to electric locomotives as truly innovative and added that it will be a game-changer in the way forward as we move towards 100% electrification for the Indian Railways. He informed that 5 years ago, Railways had electrified about 600 km of tracks across the country. Last year alone, we electrified over 4,000 km, and in the coming year we aim to electrify over 6,000 Km. He reiterated that there is a rising demand for better quality, safer, more comfortable, efficient, reliable and cheap transport and added that no other form of transport can provide this other than railways.

In his introductory remarks, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav said that Railways can play an important role in the sustainable development of the world economy. He added that rail transport is superior to any other form of transport in terms of energy efficiency and being environment friendly. He highlighted the focus on capacity augmentation and infrastructural development by Indian Railways in recent years to make it an engine of growth for the nation.

“The Future of Rail” the first-of-a-kind report analyses the current and future importance of rail around the world through the perspective of its energy and environmental implications. The report reviews the impact of existing plans and regulations on the future of rail, and explores the key policies that could help to realise an enhanced future rail.

This first ever global report has a focus on India, elaborating on the unique social and economic role of rail in India, together with its great enduring potential, to show how India can extend and update its networks to harness rail at a scope and scale that is unparalleled.

Backgrounder:

The IEA is an inter-governmental organisation that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and 8 association countries. Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.

India and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have benefited from a long, on-going bilateral relationship and cooperation in a broad range of area including energy security, statistics, energy efficiency, market analysis for oil, gas, electricity, renewables, system integration and implementation agreements for enhanced technologies.

India has been the focus of many recent IEA analyses and reports for instance through the special focus chapter on the Indian Power sector of the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) publication and the World Energy Outlook (WEO). High level policy dialogues have been further intensified over the last few years including a statement of intent on data and research cooperation, and a memorandum of understanding on clean energy research and development tracking. IEA has also held workshops and training programmes in India on energy data training, energy efficiency, strategic petroleum reserves, and the integration of renewables into the grid.

Centre allocates Rs.64,587 Cr for Railways in 2019-20; Infra allocation for NE increased by 21% to Rs.58,166 Cr in 2019-20

NEW DELHI: In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the Railways has been allocated Rs.64,587 crore.  The Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs.1,58,658 crore.  This was stated by the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal, while presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today.

Shri Piyush Goyal said  – “Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history as all Unmanned Level Crossings on broad gauge network have been eliminated”.

Vande Bharat Express:

Introduction of the first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety. This major leap in wholly developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the Make in India programme and create jobs.

The Finance Minister stated that “infrastructure is the backbone of any nation’s development and quality of life.  Whether it is highways or railways or airways or even digi-ways, we have gone beyond incremental growth to attain transformative achievements.”

Infra in North East Region:

The number of operational airports has crossed 100 with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim. Domestic passenger traffic has doubled during the last five years leading to large number of jobs being created also. Today, India is the fastest highway developer in the world with 27 kms of highways built each day. Projects stuck for decades like the Eastern Peripheral Highway around Delhi or the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have been completed. The flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas of the country will develop ports for faster handling of import and export cargo. For the first time, container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi. Our Government will introduce container cargo movement to the North East as well, by improving the navigation capacity of the Brahmaputra river.

The Finance Minister announced that the people of North East have received significant benefits of infrastructure development in this Interim Budget. Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India’s rail map for the first time. Allocation for the North Eastern Areas is being proposed to be increased by 21% to Rs.58,166 crore in 2019-20 BE over 2018-19 BE.

Boost to Renewable Energy:

The Finance Minister “while presenting the Interim Budget stated that India provided leadership to the global effort to address the problem of climate change. Our commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting-up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India. India’s installed solar generation capacity has grown over ten times in last five years. This sector is now creating lakhs of new age jobs.”

India’s import dependence on crude oil and natural gas has been a source of big concern to our Government. While we have taken a large number of measures to moderate the increasing demand through usage of bio fuel and alternate technologies, urgent action is needed to increase hydrocarbon production to reduce imports. A high level Inter-Ministerial Committee, constituted by our Government, has made several specific recommendations, including transforming the system of bidding for exploration, changing from revenue sharing to exploration programme for Category II and III basins. The Government is in the process of implementing these recommendations, the Minister said.

Railway Budget for Waltair Division 2019-20 published

S.No. Plan Head Sanctioned budget for Work in progress (Rs crores) Sanctioned budget for New Works (Rs crores)
1 New Lines 8.01
2 Doubling 933.57
3 Traffic Facilities-Yard Remodelling & Others 16.41 0.07
4 Road Safety Works-Level Crossings 15.35 1
5 Road Safety Works-Road Over/Under Bridges. 60.86 8
6 Track Renewals 289.98 72
7 Bridge Works 12.96 1
8 Signalling and Telecommunication 72.56 1.5
9 Traction Distribution Works 10.99 3
10 Workshops including Production Units 143.58 6
11 Staff Quarters 4.12 1
12 Amenities for Staff 0.09 2.8
13 Passenger Amenities 126.52 10.6
14 Other Specified Works 6.04 4.13
15 Training/HRD 0.15 0.15
Total fund Approx 1773.27 111.25

JSPL announces Financial Results for third quarter & nine months FY 2018-19

JSPL continues to report Profits

Records Highest ever Production runrate in India of over 6MTPA in Jan’19

  • 3QFY19 Standalone PAT Rs. 177 Cr
  • 3QFY19 Consolidated PBT Rs. 14 Cr
  • 3QFY19 Standalone EBITDA up 61% YoY
  • 3QFY19 Consolidated EBITDA up 29% YoY

JSPL Standalone 3QFY19 Performance (YoY):

  • Turnover: Rs. 6,745 Cr; increased by 58%
  • EBITDA: Rs. 1,480 Cr; increased by 61%
  • EBITDA Margin: 22%
  • Crude Steel Production: 1.22 million tonnes
  • Steel Sales: 1.20 million tonnes

JSPL Consolidated 3QFY19 Performance (YoY):

  • Turnover: Rs. 9,580 Cr; increased by 37%
  • EBITDA: Rs. 2,077 Cr; increased by 29%
  • EBITDA Margin: 22%
  • EBITDA – Oman: US$ 32 mn
  • Crude Steel Production: 1.68 million tonnes
  • Steel Sales: 1.65 million tonnes

JPL 3QFY19 Performance (YoY):

  • Turnover: Rs. 1,004 Cr
  • EBITDA: Rs. 273 Cr
  • EBITDA Margin: 27%
  1. JSPL Standalone Performance

JSPL Standalone Steel production rose 26% YoY to 1.22 million tonnes (0.97 million tonnes in 3QFY18) while Standalone Steel sales during 3QFY19 increased to 1.20 million tonnes (up 28% YoY) on the back of steady ramp up at Angul. On back of Angul ramp up, JSPL India clocked its ever-highest Steel production run rate of over 6MTPA in the month of Jan’19.

The quarter ended December’ 2018 saw Steel sector grappling with falling prices and decline in Sales volumes. With rhetoric on prices in China falling, there was reluctance in the consumers to build any inventory during the last month. Volumes were also impacted by a short period of stocking in the last few weeks of the previous quarter, which saw an upsurge in prices that was short-lived.

The revenues for JSPL Standalone came in at Rs. 6,745 Cr (up 58% YoY) supported by higher realizations. Aided by higher efficiency and better product mix strategy against increasing raw material costs, JSPL Standalone maintained EBITDA margins of 22%, similar to previous quarter even in a price fall environment. JSPL Standalone reported EBITDA of Rs. 1,480 Cr (Up 61% YoY) and Profit After Tax of Rs. 177 Cr as compared to a loss of Rs. 74 Cr in 3QFY18.

  1. Jindal Power Ltd (JPL)

Non- availability of coal remains to be the biggest challenge for independent power producers, including JPL, in ramping up production. The Company generated 2,609 units in 3QFY19 as compared to 2,427 units in 2QFY19 (8% QoQ increase).

Despite higher volumes, rising coal costs (up 13% QoQ) led to a compression of margins for the Company’s power assets. JPL reported EBITDA of Rs. 273 Cr (as compared to Rs. 302 Cr in 2QFY19). JPL continues to generate cash profits at Rs. 131 Cr in the reported quarter.

  1. Global Ventures

3.1. Oman: During 3QFY19, Jindal Shadeed recorded production of 0.46 million tonnes of crude steel (as against 0.42 million tonnes in 3QFY18). The impact of falling global steel prices directly impacted sales & margins at the Jindal Shadeed plant with EBITDA for 3QFY19 at US$32mn (vs. 63mn in 3QFY18).

3.2. Mozambique: Mines at Mozambique produced 0.45 million tonnes ROM in 3QFY19 and generated EBITDA of US$ 4mn for the reported quarter.

3.3. Australia: During 3QFY19, the Company undertook repair & overhaul of equipment at the Wongawilli mines and produced approx. 86KT (vs 30KT in 3QFY18). The application for approval for starting the Russel Vale mines progressed well during the quarter.

  1. JSPL Consolidated Performance

JSPL produced 1.68 million tonnes on the Consolidated level (up 21% from 1.39 million tonnes in 3QFY19) and sold 1.65 million tonnes (up 21% from 1.36 million tonnes in 3QFY18).

JSPL reported Consolidated Revenues of Rs. 9,580 Cr (up 37% YoY) while Consolidated EBITDA increased to Rs. 2,077 Cr from Rs. 1,607 Cr (in 3QFY18), up 29% YoY. JSPL Consolidated Profits before Tax jumped from a loss of Rs. 323 Cr in 3QFY18 to a profit before tax of Rs. 14 Cr this quarter.

Net Debt to EBITDA (Trailing) at the end of 3QFY19 stood at 4.85x as compared to 6.6x as of March’2018. JSPL reported consolidated net debt of Rs. 39,197 (net of foreign currency exchange translation) in 3QFY19.

  1. Overview and Outlook:

5.1. Steel:

Following a good demand cycle in CY17, production ramp-up became global phenomena in Steel. The finished steel supply gradually outpaced, otherwise healthy demand, amidst already existing downtrend in trade on the back of US section 232, leading to softening in steel prices. On the raw material side, fairly stable prices give an indication that the steel cycle might be range-bound over the medium term though there could be mini cycles with shorter peak-trough duration. Major steel producing nation, China in particular is further expected to adjust its production to more sustainable levels.

Though prices have fallen in recent months, it is neither the structural demand collapse like 2009 nor the huge supply glut in the seaborne market like 2015-16. And could possibly only be normalization from the stimulus-fuelled growth, which began pushing prices in the December quarter a year before amplified by inventory liquidation in China during the winter months. In the coming months, the outlook for Steel could be a binary outcome largely dependent on supply adjustment and any stimulus coming in China, especially in the Real Estate sector. After a period

of price reduction, the Global steel prices seem to have largely found stability at the current levels; a fact supported by the recent uptick in prices further supported by a surge in iron ore prices.

India demand growth continues at ~8% in the 9MFY19 and World Steel Association expects it to grow at 7.3% in CY19. With a possible lull in demand during the general election, the growth is expected to return to its upward trajectory sequentially. Construction sector is likely to maintain current momentum with gradual revival in private investment. Government driven infrastructure program is driving majority of the growth, with projects like Sagarmala, etc further fuelling steel demand. On-going freight corridor and metro rail projects will continue to support the steel demand from the railway sector while rising urbanization and middle class incomes should continue to boost the demand for white goods.

The Company has been able to successfully align its product mix to niche products including but not limited to specialized application alloy/non-alloy heat-treated plates, wide sized plates, Long &   Head Hardened Rails, Heavy structures, specialized application wire rods & rounds for O&G application, to successfully maintain its sales growth trajectory and operating level contribution along with the steady ramp up of Steel plants in Angul & Raigarh.

5.2. Power:

Expected fresh round of mid-term and short-term power purchase tenders by State Distribution companies and Government of India intent to allow thermal power plants to sell power in short term (including power exchanges) using FSA coal are likely to brighten up the outlook of power sector.

The country is expected to achieve 100 per cent household electrification by the end of January 2019 under SAUBHAGYA scheme; which will boost the power demand in rural areas. The recent short-term power tenders by Discoms have received high bids as generators expect coal shortages to continue and future tenders to see higher rates backed by higher demand for electricity from State Discoms. Government’s proposal to introduce coal swapping arrangement among power producers, who are importing coal or have domestic supply linkages, will further ease supply constraints in view of reduced coal transportation costs and time. With coal production expected to reach its maximum during the last quarter of the financial year, better coal supply could be expected in the coming months.

The Company is focused on mitigating these key challenges by expeditious implementation of coal tolling with State Governments and coal swapping arrangements with other generators. In the long term, introduction of commercial mining for the private sector as initiated by Govt. of India is expected to lessen coal woes for thermal power generators.

SCCL to speed up land acquisition for 54 Km Rail line between Bhadrachalam Road-Sathupalli

సింగరేణి (కొత్తగూడెం): సత్తుపల్లి–భద్రాచలం రోడ్‌ (కొత్తగూడెం రుద్రంపూర్‌) రైల్వే పనులకు కేంద్ర ప్రభుత్వం గ్రీన్‌ సిగ్నల్‌ ఇచ్చింది. దీంతో పనులను అధికారులు వేగవంతం చేయనున్నారు. రైల్వే అధికారులు దాదాపు సర్వే పను లు పూర్తి చేశారు. 54 కిలోమీటర్ల పొడవుతో నిర్మించే ఈ లైన్‌కు 50 శాతం భూసేకరణ పనులు పూర్తయినట్లు సింగరేణి అధికారులు తెలిపారు. ఇంకా మిగిలిన పనులను రైల్వేశాఖ త్వరలో పూర్తి చేయనున్నట్లు తెలిసింది. అయితే సత్తుపల్లి ఏరియాలో బొగ్గు రవాణా రోజు రోజుకు పెరుగుతు న్న నేపథ్యంలో పనులు వేగవంతం చేయాలని సింగరేణి అధికారులు భావించి రూ.618.55 ఖర్చు చేయటానికి సంసిద్ధపడి దానిలో రూ.156. 38 కోట్లను చెల్లించింది. ఈ రైల్వే లైను పొడవు సుమారు 53.50 కిలోమీటర్లకు రూ.704.31 కోట్లు అవుతుందని అంచనా. వీటిలో 16 జూలై 2018 వరకు సింగరేణి సంస్థ రూ.156.38 కోట్లు చెల్లించింది. ఈ పనులు పూర్తయితే 2020 సంవ త్సరం నాటికి సుమారు 15 మిలియన్‌ టన్నుల బొగ్గును రవాణా చేయనున్నట్లు రైల్వే, సింగరేణి అధికారులు పేర్కొంటున్నారు. దీంతో సింగరేణికి బొగ్గు రవాణా ఖర్చు లక్షల్లో ఉంటుందని కార్మికులు అభిప్రాయం వ్యక్తం చేస్తున్నారు.

రోజుకు 30 వేల టన్నుల బొగ్గు రవాణా  – ప్రస్తుతం కొత్తగూడెం ఏరియాలోని జేవీఆర్‌ఓసీ–1, 2లలో రోజుకు సుమారు 30 వేల టన్నుల బొగ్గు 800 (చిన్న, పెద్ద) లారీలలో రుద్రంపూర్‌లోని ఆర్‌సీహెచ్‌పీకి వస్తుంది. ఈ రవాణా పక్రియలో ప్రమాదాల సంఖ్య ఇటీవల కాలంలో భారీగా పెరిగాయని కార్మికులు చర్చించుకుంటున్నారు. అంతేకాకుండా బొగ్గు లారీల రాకపోకల వలన దుమ్ము, ధూళి వచ్చి పర్యావరణం దెబ్బతినటమే కాకుండా రోడ్డు వెంట నివసించే ప్రజలు రోగాల బారిన పడుతున్నారు. అదేవిధంగా శబ్దకాలుష్యంతో రాత్రింబవళ్లు కష్టపడి వచ్చిన ప్రజలకు నిద్ర ఉండటంలేదని వాపోతున్నారు. ఈ పనులు పూరయ్తితే వీటన్నిటికి ఉపశమనం జరుగుతుందని ప్రజలు అభిప్రాయం వ్యక్తం చేస్తున్నారు.

సత్తుపల్లిలో మరో నాలుగు ఓసీలకు రంగం సిద్ధం – సత్తుపల్లిలో జలగం వెంగళరావు ఓసీ–1ను 2006లో సింగరేణి సంస్థ ప్రారంభించి ఏడాదికి సుమారు 50 లక్షల టన్నుల బొగ్గును ఉత్పత్తి చేస్తుంది. ఇదేక్రమంలో 2017లో  జేవీఆర్‌ ఓసీ–2లో ఉత్పత్తిని ప్రారభించింది. దీని జీవితకాలం సుమారు 29 సంవత్సరాలు. సంవత్సరానికి సుమారు ఒక మిలియన్‌ టన్ను బొగ్గు ఉత్పత్తి చేసేందుకు అధికారులు కసరత్తు చేస్తున్నారు. అదేవిధంగా సత్తుపల్లి ఓపెన్‌కాస్ట్‌ –3 కొమ్మేపల్లి ప్రాంతంలో మరో మూడేళ్లలో ఇక్కడ కూడా ఓసీ ప్రారంభం కానుంది. అదేవిధంగా కిష్టారం ఓపెన్‌కాస్ట్, ఇవన్నీ కలుపుకొని ఏరియాలో రానున్న మరో నాలుగేళ్లలో 10 మిలియన్‌ టన్నుల బొగ్గు ఉత్పత్తి చేసి రవాణాకు సన్నాహాలు చేస్తున్నారు. సింగరేణి సంస్థ ఉత్పత్తిచేసే బొగ్గును లారీల ద్వారా కాకుండా రైల్వే వ్యాగన్ల ద్వారా రవాణా చేస్తే సంస్థకు లక్షలాది రూపాయల లాభంతో పాటు అక్రమ రవాణాకు చెక్‌ పడుతుందని కార్మికులు అభిప్రాయం వ్యక్తం చేస్తున్నారు.

అభివృద్ధి చెందనున్న పలు గ్రామాలు – భద్రాద్రి కొత్తగూడెం, ఖమ్మం, జిల్లాలోని గ్రామాలను కలిపే ఈ రైల్వే మార్గం వల్ల కొత్తగూడెం, చండ్రుగొండ, మద్దుకూరు, అన్నపురెడ్డిపల్లి, లంకపల్లి, మండలాల గ్రామాలు అభివృద్ధి చెందనున్నాయి. దీనివలన పరోక్షంగా వేలాది మందికి ఉపాధి కలుగనుంది.

Rs.2362 Crore grant for ongoing Railway projects across Andhra Pradesh

VIJAYAWADA: Despite no new projects being announced for railways by Union minister Piyush Goyal in the interim budget placed in the Parliament on Friday, the ongoing projects under South Central Railway (SCR) in AP have got fund allocations from the Centre. However, there have been disparities in the allocations as compared with the previous year.

Of the Rs 5,924 crore sanctioned by the Centre for SCR this year, around Rs 2,362 crore would be spent on railway development in AP. The Modi government pumped Rs 1,308 crore less funds in the SCR coffer this year, as compared with the 2018-19 budget, in which railways had been sanctioned Rs 3,670 crore for infra boost in the state.

As for the two third line projects linking Vijayawada with Kazipet and Gudur, the fund allocations saw a staggering growth this year. “The fund sanctioned for Kazipet-Vijayawada third line has been increased from Rs 60 crore last year to Rs 110 crore in the interim budget. Likewise, the Vijayawada-Gudur third line has got Rs 350 crore, which is Rs 100 crore more than last year’s allocation,” said a senior railway official.

Besides, the allocation for construction of bypass lines at Vijayawada, Kazipet, Reningunta, Wadi and Gooti also surged from a mere Rs 31 crore in the 2018-19 budget to Rs 143 crore in the interim one. While the Centre increased the allocation to the development of a second entry at Tirupati railway station by Rs 4.5 crore, SCR gets Rs 4 crore less than last year for the development of Tiruchanur station. However, the allotment of funds for the Vijayawada-Bhimavaram-Nidadabvolu doubling and electrification works have plummeted to Rs 175 crore from Rs 200 crore granted last year. The dip was also seen in the allocation of funds to Guntakal-Kalluru doubling project — from Rs 76.52 crore last year to Rs 15 crore this time.

The highest allocation for railways in AP is Rs 700 crore pertaining to the current Nadikudi-Srikalahasti new line project, which was taken up in the 2011-12 fiscal at an estimated cost of Rs 2,450 crore. As per the agreement, the AP government would have to share half of the project cost. While the expenditure incurred on the project in the past four years clocks Rs 414 crore, SCR was allocated Rs 420 crore for the same last year.

Well done Indian Railways!

The provisions in the interim Budget presented on Friday reflect the robust revenue growth!

NEW DELHI: The railway revenues are beginning to turn. After failing to meet the Rs 1.8-trillion earnings mark in the past three years, the Railways are now moving closer to the Rs 2-trillion mark — way ahead of the Rs 1.78 trillion it earned last year. The surge is creditable.

The provisions in the interim Budget presented on Friday reflect the robust revenue growth. Indian Railways has, however, projected only a 95 per cent operating ratio. For the past few years, the railway’s wage bill has continued to be more than 60 per cent of its income. But even with digital modes of revenue collection, staff requirement will not come down since it provides services to 8.4 billion passengers annually.

Amtrak, the US railway managed by the federal government, also has a wage bill of 60 per cent of revenue.

Increasing fares is not the only way to improve revenues. The railway needs to target passenger volumes. Currently, the Indian Railways has a per-day ratio of 18 passengers per employee. A small increment, say two more passengers per employee, would add Rs 5,000 crore per annum to the Railways’ revenues. This is equal to a 10 per cent hike in fares. Railway container traffic is not growing too fast. This is an issue that the Railways will perhaps address from 2020.

The increase in capex was expected. Funding projects through borrowings is on the rise. Train 18 has cost about Rs 100 crore. Instead of spending for these from the exchequer, the government can take loans.

Budget Summary with Major Highlights of the Interim Budget 2019-20

INTERIM BUDGET 2019-20 PRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT TODAY HAS A MAJOR SCHEME FOR FARMERS AND PROVIDES FOR INCOME TAX SOPS  THIS INTERIM BUDGET IS TO BE VIEWED AS A MEDIUM FOR A PROGRESSIVE

PATH FOR THE COUNTRY, THE FINANCE MINISTER SAYS. SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL SAYS GOVERNMENT HAS BROUGHT DOWN AVERAGE INFLATION TO 4.6%, LOWER THAN THE INFLATION DURING THE TENURE OF ANY OTHER PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT.

NEW DELHI: Interim Budget 2019-20 was presented in Parliament today by the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal. Besides having a major Scheme for the farmers, it provides tax sops and sets the Developmental Agenda for the years to come.

A New Deal for 12 Crore Small and Marginal farmers with direct income support, a path breaking Pension initiative for 10 Crore unorganized sector workers, exempting income up to Rs 5 lakhs from Income Tax, reforms in stamp duty, highest ever budgetary allocation of Rs 3 lakh crore for Defence, record allocation of funds at Rs 58,166 crore for North Eastern Areas, a new AIIMS for Haryana, single window clearance for Indian film makers at par with foreigners and higher budgetary allocations for Education, Health, Infrastructure and for the welfare of weaker sections including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, a Separate Department of Fisheries for welfare of 1.5 crore fisherman are some of the major highlights of the Interim Budget 2019-20.

Major Schemes

New Scheme- namely “Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)” to extend direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year to farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares is announced.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that “our Government is launching a historic programme PM-KISAN with an outlay of Rs.75,000 crore for the FY 2019-20 and Rs.20,000 crore in the Revised Estimates of FY 2018-19”.

Under this Government of India funded Scheme, Rs.2,000 each will be transferred to the bank accounts of around 12 crore Small and Marginal farmer families, in three equal installments. This programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first installment for the period upto31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself, Shri Piyush Goyal said.

To provide sustained and focused attention towards development of Fisheries, the Government has decided to create a separate Department of Fisheries. Finance Minister said that through the measure, the Government wants to promote further growth over 7% to promote livelihood of about 1.45 crore people dependent on the sector.

The Finance Minister announced 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing the activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through Kisan Credit Card. Further, in case of timely repayment of loan, they will also get an additional 3% interest subvention.

Allocation of Rs.750 crore for Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been announced for the current year itself. Setting up of “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog” to upscale sustainable genetic upgradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows has also been announced. The Aayog will also look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cow.

To provide pensionary benefits to at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector a new Scheme called ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan’ is announced. The Finance Minister said that within next five years it would be one of the largest pension schemes of the world. A sum of Rs.500 crore has been allocated for the Scheme. Additional funds will be provided as needed, Shri Goyal added. The scheme will also be implemented from the current year, he said.

Tax Benefits

Individual taxpayers having taxable annual income up to Rs.5 lakhs will not be required to pay any income tax. The Finance Minister said that persons having gross income up to Rs. 6.50 lakhs are not required to pay any income tax if they make investments in provident funds, specified savings and insurance etc. Additional deductions such as interest on home loan up to Rs. 2 lakh, interest on education loans, National Pension Scheme contributions, medical insurance and medical expenditure on senior citizens etc, are also provided for in the Interim Budget 2019-20. Thus tax benefit of Rs. 18,500 crore is proposed to be provided to an estimated 3 crore middle class and small taxpayers comprising self employed, small business, small traders, salary earners, pensioners and senior citizens.

For salaried persons, Standard Deduction is being raised from the current Rs.40,000 to Rs.50,000. This will provide additional tax benefit of Rs. 4,700 crore to more than 3 crore salary earners and pensioners.

Exemption on levy of income tax on notional rent on a second self-occupied house is also now proposed. Currently, income tax on notional rent is payable if one has more than one selfoccupied house.

TDS threshold on interest earned on bank/post office deposits is being raised from Rs. 10,000 to Rs.40,000.

TDS threshold for deduction of tax on rent is proposed to be increased from Rs. 1,80,000 to Rs.2,40,000 for providing relief to small taxpayers.

The Finance Minister says that the Government wants the GST burden on home buyers to be reduced and accordingly the GST Council was moved to appoint a Group of Ministers to examine and make recommendations in this regard at the earliest.

Shri Goyal said that soon, businesses comprising over 90% of GST payers will be allowed to file quarterly return.

Inflation

The Finance Minister said that the Government has been successful in bringing down average inflation to 4.6% over last five years, which is lower than the inflation during the tenure of any other Government. In fact Inflation in December 2018 was down to 2.19% only. Shri Goyal said if we had not controlled inflation, our families would have been spending around 3540% more today on basic necessities such as food, travel, consumer durables, housing etc. The average rate of inflation during previous five years 2009-2014 was a backbreaking 10.1%, he pointed out.

Fiscal Deficit

 The fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19 RE from the high of almost 6% seven years ago, the Finance Minister mentioned. He said, the Current Account Deficit (CAD), against a high of 5.6% six years ago, is likely to be only 2.5% of GDP this year. “We contained the fiscal deficit notwithstanding the Finance Commission’s recommendations increasing the share of the States from 32% to 42% in central taxes, which we accepted in the true spirit of cooperative federalism, thereby transferring significantly higher amounts to the States”, Shri Goyal said.

Growth and FDI

The Finance Minister Shri Piyush Goyal stated that a stage for high growth in decades to come, has now been set, after a wave of next generation path breaking structural reforms over the last five years, including introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other taxation reforms.

The country witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability during the last five years. “We are the fastest growing major economy in the world with an annual average GDP growth during last five years higher than the growth achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991. From being the 11th largest economy in the world in 2013-14, we are today the 6th largest in the world”, the Finance Minister asserted in his Opening Remarks of his Budget speech.

Shri Goyal said that due to such a stable and predictable regulatory regime, growing economy and strong fundamentals, India could attract massive amount of as much as $239 billion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last 5 years, when most of the FDI was allowed to come in through the automatic route.

Enhanced allocations for major Schemes

Announcing an allocation of Rs.60,000 crores for MGNREGA for Budget Estimates 2019-20, the Finance Minister said that additional allocations will be made, if required.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) is being allocated Rs.19,000 crore in BE 2019-20 as against Rs.15,500 crore in RE 2018-19. During the period 2014-18, a total number of 1.53 crore houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he announced.

By March, 2019, all households will be provided with electricity connection. Till now, 143 crore LED bulbs have been provided in a mission mode which has resulted in saving of Rs.50,000 crore for the poor and middle class.

He said through the world‟s largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, to provide medical treatment to nearly 50 crore people in the country, around 10 lakh patients have already benefited through free treatment for medical treatment which would have otherwise cost them Rs. 3,000 crore. Lakhs of poor and middle class people are also benefiting from reduction in the prices of essential medicines, cardiac stents and knee implants, and availability of medicines at affordable prices through Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras, the Finance Minister added.

Shri Goyal also said that 14 of the 21 AIIMS operating or being established in the country presently have been announced since 2014. He also announced setting up of a new – the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana.

Allocation for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is being increased from Rs.23,357 crore in RE 2018-19 to Rs.27,584 crore in BE 2019-20.

A substantial increase is proposed in the allocation for welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The allocation of Rs.56,619 crore made in BE of 2018-19 for Scheduled Caste, further increased to Rs.62,474 crore in RE is proposed to be enhanced to Rs.76,801 crore in BE for 2019-20, an increase of 35.6% over BE of 2018-19. For the Scheduled Tribes also, proposed allocation in 2019-20 BE is Rs.50,086 crore as against Rs.39,135 crore in BE 2018-19, an increase of 28%.

The Finance Minister said that a Welfare Development Board to frame special strategies for the benefit of the hard-to-reach De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities will be set up under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. He said that a Committee under NITI Aayog will also be set up to complete the task of identifying De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities not yet formally classified.

Shri Goyal said under the Ujjwala Yojana aiming delivery of 8 crore free LPG connections, more than 6 crore connections have already been given and the remaining will get free gas connections by next year.

The Finance Minister announced that a National Artificial Intelligence Portal will also be developed soon as a part of the National Programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will now be renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade.

The Finance Minister stated that the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), created by the present Government two years ago, resulted in average savings of 25-28% and the platform will now be extended to all CPSEs. Transactions of over Rs. 17,500 crore have taken place so far.

The Finance Minister announced that for the first time, the country‟s Defence Budget will be of over Rs.3 lakh crore.

The Finance Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal pointed-out that domestic air traffic passengers have doubled during the last five years, leading to large number of jobs also being created. The number of operational airports has crossed 100 with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim. Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India‟s rail map for the first time.

Capital support from the budget for Indian Railways is proposed at Rs.64,587 crore in 2019-20 (BE). The Railways‟ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs. 1,58,658 crore. The Finance Minister, who is also holding the portfolio of Railway Ministry, announced that the Operating Ratio is expected to improve from 98.4% in 2017-18 to 96.2% in 2018-19 (RE) and further to 95% in 2019-20 (BE).

India‟s installed solar generation capacity has grown over ten times in last five years. Stating this, Shri Goyal said that “our commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India. This sector is now creating lakhs of new age jobs, he added.

The Finance Minister announced that in Entertainment industry, which is a major employment generator, regulatory provisions will now rely more on self-declarations. To promote entertainment industry, the Single window clearance for ease of shooting films, now available only to foreigners, will also be made available to Indian filmmakers. “We will also introduce anti-camcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy”, he said.

Saying that “We are poised to become a Five Trillion Dollar Economy in the next five years and aspire to become a Ten Trillion Dollar Economy in the next 8 years thereafter”, Shri Piyush Goyal said that there has been a Growth of 18% in Direct Tax Collections in 2017-18 and increase in tax base by as many as 1.06 crore people filing income tax returns for the first time in FY 2017-18, mainly on account of demonetization.

Shri Goyal said that he is proposing, through the Finance Bill, necessary amendments to levy Stamp duties on one instrument relating to one transaction and get collected at one place through the Stock Exchanges. The duty so collected will be shared with the State Governments seamlessly on the basis of domicile of buying client, he said.

In all the total expenditure is to increase from Rs.24,57,235 crore in 2018-19 RE to Rs.27,84,200 crore in 2019-20 BE. A rise of Rs.3,26,965 crore or approximately 13.30%. This reflects a high increase considering low inflation. The fiscal deficit of year 2019-20 is estimated to be 3.4% of GDP.

The Finance Minister pointed out that after completion of the fiscal deficit consolidation programme, the Government would now focus on Debt consolidation. He said “We have maintained the glide path towards our target of 3% of fiscal deficit to be achieved by 2020-21. India‟s Debt to GDP ratio was 46.5% in year 2017-18. The FRBM Act prescribes that the Debt to GDP ratio of the Government of India should be brought down to 40% by 2024-25. “Along with completion of the fiscal deficit consolidation programme, we will now focus on Debt consolidation”, he added.

The key highlights of the Interim Budget 2019-20 presented by the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal in Parliament today are as follows: 

New Announcements

Farmers

  • 12 crore small and marginal farmers to be provided with assured yearly income of Rs.6000 per annum under PM-KISAN o Outlay of Rs. 75,000 crore for FY 2019-20 with additional Rs. 20,000 crore in RE 2018-19
  • Outlay for Rashtriya Gokul mission increased to Rs 750 crore
  • Rashtriya Kamdhenu Ayog to be setup for sustainable genetic up-gradation of the Cow resources
  • New separate Department of Fisheries for welfare of 1.5 crore fishermen
  • 2% interest subvention to Farmers for Animal husbandry and Fisheries activities; additional 3% in case of timely repayment.
  • Interest subvention of 2% during disaster will now be provided for the entire period of reschedulement of loan

Labour

 Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan scheme to ensure fixed monthly pension to 10 crore unorganized sector workers o Rs 3000 per month after 60 years of age with an affordable contribution of only Rs 100/55 per month

Health

 22nd AIIMS to be setup in Haryana

MGNREGA

 Rs. 60, 000 crore allocation for MGNREGA in BE 2019-20

Direct Tax proposals

  • Income upto Rs. 5 lakh exempted from Income Tax
  • More than Rs. 23,000 crore tax relief to 3 crore middle class taxpayers
  • Standard Deduction to be raised to Rs. 50,000 from Rs. 40,000
  • TDS threshold to be raised from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 40,000 on interest earned on bank/post office deposits
  • Existing rates of income tax to continue
  • Tax exempted on notional rent on a second self-occupied house
  • Housing and real estate sector to get boost- o TDS threshold for deduction of tax on rent to be increased from Rs. 1,80,000 to Rs.2,40,000 o Benefit of rollover of capital gains increased from investment in one residential house to two residential houses for capital gains up to Rs. 2 crore.
  • Tax benefits for affordable housing extended till 31st March, 2020 under Section 80-
  • IBA of Income Tax Act o Tax exemption period on notional rent, on unsold inventories, extended from one year to two years

Fiscal Programme

  • Fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4% of GDP for 2019-20
  • Target of 3% of fiscal deficit to be achieved by 2020-21.
  • Fiscal deficit brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19 RE from almost 6% seven years ago
  • Total expenditure increased by over 13% to Rs.27,84,200 crore in 2019-20 BE
  • Capital Expenditure for 2019-20 BE estimated at Rs. 3,36,292 crore
  • Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) allocation increased to Rs. 3,27,679 crore in BE 2019-20
  • National Education Mission allocation increased by about 20% to Rs. 38,572 crore in BE 2019-20
  • Allocation for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) increased by over 18% to Rs. 27,584 crore in BE 2019-20
  • Substantial increase in allocation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes – o Allocation for SCs increased by 35.6% – from Rs. 56,619 crore in BE 2018-19 to Rs. 76,801 crore in BE for 2019-20
  • Allocation for the STs increased by 28% – from 39,135 crore in BE 2018-19 to Rs. 50,086 crore in 2019-20 BE
  • Government confident of achieving the disinvestment target of 80,000 crore
  • Focus now on debt consolidation along with fiscal deficit consolidation programme

Poor and Backward Classes

  • “First right on the resources of country is that of the poor”: FM
  • 25% additional seats in educational institutions to meet the 10% reservation for the poor
  • Targeted expenditure to bridge urban-rural divide & to improve quality of life in villages
  • All willing households to be provided electricity connections by March 2019

North East

  • Allocation to be increased by 21% to Rs. 58,166 crore in 2019-20 BE over 2018-19 BE
  • Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently
  • Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram came on India‟s rail map for the first time
  • Container cargo movement through improved navigation capacity of the Brahmaputra

Vulnerable sections

  • A new committee under NITI Ayog to identify all the remaining De-notified nomadic and semi-Nomadic tribes.
  • New Welfare development Board under Ministry of social justice and empowerment for development and welfare of De-notified nomadic and semi nomadic tribes

Defence

  • Defence budget to cross Rs 3,00,000 crore for the first time ever

Railways

  • Capital support of Rs.64,587 crore proposed in 2019-20 (BE) from the budget
  • Overall capital expenditure programme to be of Rs. 1,58,658 crore
  • Operating Ratio expected to improve from 98.4% in 2017-18 to 96.2% in 2018-19 (RE) and to 95% in 2019- 20 (BE)

Entertainment Industry

  • Indian filmmakers to get access to Single window clearance as well for ease of shooting films
  • Regulatory provisions to rely more on self-declaration
  • To introduce anti-camcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control piracy

MSME and Traders

  • 2% interest subvention on an incremental loan of Rs 1 crore for GST registered SMEs
  • Atleast 3% of the 25% sourcing for the Government undertakings will be from women owned SMEs
  • Renewed Focus on Internal trade ; DIPP renamed to Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal trade 

Digital Villages

  • The Government to make 1 lakh villages into Digital Villages over next five years

Other Announcement(s)

  • New National Artificial Intelligence portal to support National Program on Artificial Intelligence

Achievements during 2014-19

  • State of the Economy
  • India universally recognized as a bright spot of the global economy during last five years
  • “Country witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability during 2014-19”, says FM
  • India is now the 6th largest economy in the world from being the 11thlargest in 2013-14  Annual average GDP growth during 2014-19 higher than any government since 1991
  • Government has broken inflation‟s back from backbreaking inflation during 2009-14: FM
  • Average inflation down to 4.6%, lower than during any other Government
  • Inflation in December 2018 down to 2.19% only
  • Fiscal deficit down to 3.4% in 2018-19 RE from the high of almost 6% seven years ago
  • CAD likely to be only 2.5% of GDP this year against a high of 5.6% six years ago  India attracted massive amount of FDI, worth $239 billion, during the last 5 years
  • “India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity”, says FM
  • India becomes the fastest growing major economy in the world
  • Double-digit inflation contained and fiscal balance restored
  • Liberalization of FDI policy, allowing most FDI to come through the automatic route

Farmers

  • Assured MSP of minimum 50% to all 22 crops
  • Interest subvention doubled in last 5 years
  • Soil Health card, Neem coated Urea game changer in farm sector

Labor

  • Employment opportunities expanded ; EPFO membership increased by 2 crore
  • Minimum income for every category of workers increased by 42% in last 5 years

Poor and Backward Classes

  • 10% reservation for the poor in educational institutions and government jobs
  • Free electricity connection to every household under Saubhagya Yojana
  • World‟s largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, for nearly 50 crore people
  • Aspirational Districts Programme for development in 115 most backward districts
  • 1,70,000 crore spent during 2018-19 for cheaper food grains to poor and middle class
  • 143 crore LED bulbs provided in mission mode with the cooperation of private sector
  • Poor & middle class are saving Rs. 50, 000 crore p.a. in electricity bills due to LED bulbs
  • 10 lakh patients benefited from free treatment under Ayushman Bharat
  • Jan Aushadhi Kendras providing medicines at affordable prices to poor and middle class
  • 14 out of 21 AIIIMS operating presently have been announced since 2014
  • Government tripled rural roads‟ construction under the PMGSY
  • 80 lakh habitations out of 17.84 lakh connected with pucca roads
  • 19,000 crore for PMGSY in BE 2019-20 against Rs. 15,500 crore in RE 2018-19
  • 53 crore houses built under PM Awas Yojana during the 2014-18

Women development to women led development

  • 6 crore free LPG gas connections provided under Ujjwala Yojna ; All 8 crore by next year
  • 70% of MUDRA Loan availed by Women
  • Maternity leave extended to 26 weeks
  • Financial support for pregnant women under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana

Youth

  • Over one crore youth trained under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikash Yojana
  • Self-employment boost through MUDRA, STAND-UP and START-UP India

MSME and Traders

  • Up-to Rs 1 crore loans can be availed in less than an hour
  • 25%-28% is the average savings due to GeM (Government e-Market place)

Income Tax

  • Tax collections nearly doubled in five years- from Rs. 6.38 Lakh crore in 2013-14 to almost Rs. 12 lakh crore this year
  • 80% growth in tax base- from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore in five years
  • Tax administration streamlined- Last year, 99.54% of the income-tax returns accepted as were filed
  • Technology intensive project approved to improve assessee friendliness –In two years, returns to be processed in 24 hours and refunds issued simultaneously
  • Earlier benefits given to middle class- o Basic exemption limit increased from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh
    • Tax rate reduced from 10% to 5% for the tax slab of Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh o Standard deduction of Rs. 40,000 introduced for the salaried class
    • Deduction of savings under section 80C increased from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh o Deduction of interest for self-occupied house property raised from Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh
  • Special benefits and incentives already given to small businesses and startups- o Overall compliance processes simplified.
    • Threshold for presumptive taxation of business raised from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore
    • Benefit of presumptive taxation extended for the first time to small professionals fixing threshold limit at Rs. 50 lakh
    • Presumptive profit rate reduced from 8% to 6% to promote a less cash economy o Tax rate for about 99% companies reduced to 25%

GST

  • GST made India a common market
  • GST led to increased tax base, higher collections and ease of trade
  • Inter-state movements now faster, more efficient, and hassle free
  • Responsive and sensitive reduction of tax rates – Most items of daily use now in the 0% or 5% tax slab
  • Relieving the businesses and service providers- o Exemptions from GST for small businesses doubled from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh
    • Small businesses having turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crore pay only 1% flat rate and file one annual return only
    • Small service providers with turnover upto Rs.50 lakhs can opt for composition scheme and pay GST at 6% instead of 18%
    • Soon, businesses comprising over 90% of GST payers to be allowed to file quarterly return
  • Encouraging GST revenue trends – The average monthly tax collection in the current year is Rs. 97,100 crore per month as compared to Rs. 89,700 crore per month in the first year

Infrastructure

Civil Aviation – UDAN Scheme o Number of Operational Airports crossed 100 o Latest: Pakyong airport in Sikkim

  • Domestic Passenger traffic doubled in last 5 years

Roads

  • India is the fastest highway developer in the world
  • 27 kms of highways built each day
  • Stuck projects completed – Eastern Peripheral Highway around Delhi
  • Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

Waterways

  • Flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas
  • For first time, container freight movement started on Kolkata to Varanasi inland waterways

Railways

  • “Safest year‟ for railways in its history o All Unmanned Level Crossings on broad gauge network eliminated. o Semi high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” introduced – first indigenously developed and manufactured

Climate Change

  • International Solar Alliance o To promote renewable energy
  • First treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in

India Installed solar generation capacity grown over ten times in last five years o Now creating lakhs of new age jobs

Digital India Revolution

  • More than 3 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) exist to deliver services to the citizens
  • India now leading the world in the consumption of mobile data
  • Monthly consumption of mobile data increased by over 50 times in the last five years
  • Under Make in India, mobile and parts manufacturing companies increased from 2 to more than 268 providing huge job opportunities

Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) and Direct Benefit Transfer

  • In the last five years, nearly 34 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts opened
  • Aadhaar now near universally implemented
  • Ensure the poor and middle class receive the benefits of Government schemes directly in their bank accounts by eliminating middlemen

Customs and trading across borders

  • Customs duties on 36 capital goods abolished  Digitization of import and export transactions
  • RFID technology to improve logistics

Steps against corruption

  • Government walked the talk on corruption and ushered in a new era of transparency: FM
  • RERA and Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act have brought transparency in real estate
  • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 to help confiscate economic offenders
  • Government conducted transparent auction of natural resources such as coal & spectrum

Drive against Black money

  • Undisclosed income of about Rs 1,30,000 crore brought under tax through initiatives like Black money Law, Fugitive Criminal offenders Act, Demonetisation etc.
  • Benami assets worth Rs 6,900 crore have been attached
  • 18% growth in Direct tax

Banking Reforms and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)

  • The IBC has institutionalized a resolution-friendly mechanism
  • Government has stopped the culture of “phone banking”: FM
  • Government adopted 4Rs approach of recognition, resolution, re-capitalization & reforms
  • Government has implemented measures to ensure „Clean Banking‟
  • Government has already recovered Rs. 3 lakh crore in favor of banks and creditors
  • Government has invested Rs. 2.6 lakh crore for recapitalization of public sector banks

Cleanliness

  • Government launched Swachh Bharat Mission as a tribute to 150 years of Gandhi Ji
  • FM thanks 130 crore Indians for translating Swachh Bharat into a national revolution
  • India has achieved 98% rural sanitation coverage
  • 45 lakh villages have been declared “Open Defecation Free”

Defence

  • OROP under implementation in full spirit with Rs 35,000 crore already disbursed
  • Military pay service hiked

Other achievements

  • Government put a stop to questionable practices of hiding high NPAs
  • Swachh Bharat Mission as the world‟s largest behavioral change movement
  • Moving towards realizing a „New India‟ by 2022 – o Clean and healthy India with universal access to toilets, water and electricity to all o An India where Farmers‟ income would have doubled o Ample opportunities to youth and women to fulfil their dreams
  • An India free from terrorism, communalism, casteism, corruption and nepotism 

Vision for the next Decade

  • Foundation for India‟s growth and development laid in the past 5 years
  • Poised to become a Five Trillion Dollar Economy in the next five years
  • Aspire to become a Ten Trillion Dollar Economy in the next 8 years thereafter

Ten dimensions of Vision for India of 2030

India would be a modern, technology driven, high growth, equitable and transparent society

  1. To build physical as well as social infrastructure and to provide ease of living
  2. To create a Digital India, digitize government processes with leaders from youth
  3. Making India pollution free by leading transport revolution with Electric Vehicles and focus on Renewables
  4. Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment
  5. Clean Rivers, safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water through microirrigation
  6. Besides scaling up of Sagarmala, Coastline and Ocean waters powering India‟s development and growth
  7. Aim at our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World and placing an Indian astronaut into space by 2022
  8. Making India self-sufficient in food, exporting to the world to meet their food needs and producing food in the most organic way
  9. A healthy India via Ayushman Bharat with women having equal rights and concern for their safety and empowerment
  10. Transforming India into a Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation with proactive and responsible bureaucracy 

PRADHAN MANTRI KISAN SAMMAN NIDHI ANNOUNCED TO PROVIDE ASSURED INCOME SUPPORT TO SMALL AND MARGINAL FARMERS VULNERABLE LANDHOLDING FARMERS HAVING CULTIVABLE LAND UPTO 2  HECTARES TO BE PROVIDED DIRECT INCOME SUPPORT OF RS. 6000 PER YEAR . AROUND 12 CRORE SMALL AND MARGINAL FARMER FAMILIES ARE EXPECTED TO BENEFIT

To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, the Government is launching the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN). While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs,

Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each. This programme will be funded by Government of India. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this. The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first installment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself. This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75,000 crore”. PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season. PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Regarding Animal Husbandry the Minister said, “I have increased the allocation for Rashtriya Gokul Mission to Rs.750 crore in the current year itself. I announce setting up of “Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog” to upscale sustainable genetic upgradation of cow resources and to enhance production and productivity of cows. The Aayog will also look after effective implementation of laws and welfare schemes for cows.”

Department of Fisheries

To provide sustained and focused attention towards development of fisheries sector, the

Government has decided to create a separate Department of Fisheries. The Minister said, “In the last Budget, our Government announced the facility of extension of Kisan Credit Card scheme (KCC) to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries farmers. Now, I propose to provide the benefit of 2% interest subvention to the farmers pursuing the activities of animal husbandry and fisheries, who avail loan through Kisan Credit Card. Further, in case of timely repayment of loan, they will also get an additional 3% interest subvention.”

Crop Loans

When natural calamities strike, farmers are generally unable to repay their crop loans. The Finance Minister said, “Presently, the crop loans are rescheduled for such affected farmers and they get benefit of interest subvention of 2% only for the first year of the rescheduled loan. Our Government has now decided that all farmers affected by severe natural calamities, where assistance is provided from National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2% and prompt repayment incentive of 3% for the entire period of reschedulement of their loans.”

INCOME UPTO Rs 5 LAKH TO GET FULL TAX REBATE; HIGHER  STANDARD DEDUCTION PROPOSED  RELIEF OF OVER Rs 23,000 CRORE TO ESTIMATED 3 CRORE SMALL AND MIDDLE CLASS TAX-PAYERS. TDS THRESHHOLD ON INTERESTS ON SMALL SAVINGS RAISED. BOOST TO HOUSING AND REAL ESTATE SECTOR. FM ANNOUNCES A SLEW OF TAX RELIEFS FOR MIDDLE CLASS AND SMALL TAX PAYERS  

Individual taxpayers having taxable annual income up to Rs.5 lakhs will get full tax rebate and therefore will not be required to pay any income tax. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs,

Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “Because of major tax reforms undertaken by us during last four and half years, both tax collections as well as tax base have shown significant increase, achieving a moderate taxation- high compliance regime. It is, therefore, just and fair that some benefits from the tax reforms must also be passed on to the middle class taxpayers”

As a result, the Finance Minister added that even persons having gross income up to Rs. 6.50 lakhs may not be required to pay any income tax if they make investments in provident funds, specified savings, insurance etc. In fact, with additional deductions such as interest on home loan up to Rs.2 lakh, interest on education loans, National Pension Scheme contributions, medical insurance, medical expenditure on senior citizens etc, persons having even higher income will not have to pay any tax. This will provide tax benefit of Rs.18,500 crore to an estimated 3 crore middle class taxpayers comprising self employed, small business, small traders, salary earners, pensioners and senior citizens.

STANDARD DEDUCTIONS RAISED

For salaried persons, Standard Deduction is being raised from the current Rs.40,000 to Rs.50,000. “This will provide additional tax benefit of Rs.4,700 crore to more than 3 crore salary earners and pensioners”, the Finance Minister informed.

TDS THRESHHOLD INCREASED

Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) threshold on interest earned on bank/post office deposits has been proposed to be raised from Rs.10,000 to Rs.40,000. Shri Goyal said, “This will benefit small depositors and non-working spouses”. Further, the TDS threshold for deduction of tax on rent has also been proposed to be increased from Rs.1,80,000 to Rs.2,40,000 for providing relief to small taxpayers.

MORE RELIEF TO RESIDENTIAL HOUSES

It has been proposed to exempt the levy of income tax on notional rent on a second self-occupied house. Currently, income tax on notional rent is payable if one has more than one self-occupied house. Shri Goyal announced the relief considering the difficulty of the middle class having to maintain families at two locations on account of their job, children‟s education, care of parents etc. 

Further, the Finance Minister proposed to increase the benefit of rollover of capital gains under Section 54 of the Income Tax Act from investment in one residential house to two residential houses for a taxpayer having capital gains up to Rs. 2 crore. This benefit can be availed once in a life time. For making more homes available under affordable housing, the benefits under Section 80-IBA of the Income Tax Act is being extended for one more year, i.e., to the housing projects approved till 31st March, 2020. Also, for giving impetus to the real estate sector, the Finance Minister proposed to extend the period of exemption from levy of tax on notional rent, on unsold inventories, from one year to two years, from the end of the year in which the project is completed.

FISCAL PROGRAMME FOR 2019-20 AND BEYOND

FISCAL DEFICIT PEGGED AT 3.4% OF GDP FOR 2019-20

IN 2019-20 BE, TOTAL EXPENDITURE RISES BY 13.30% OVER 2018-19 RE

35.6% INCREASE IN ALLOCATION FOR WELFARE OF SCs, 28% FOR STs

DISINVESTMENT TARGET OF Rs. 90,000 CRORE SET FOR 2019-20

The Interim Budget 2019-20 has pegged the fiscal deficit for the year 2019-20 at 3.4% of GDP. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “The estimate of incomes and expenditure which I am presenting today, pegs the fiscal deficit of year 2019-20 at 3.4% of GDP.”

Shri Goyal said in his Speech, “We would have maintained fiscal deficit at 3.3% for year 201819 and taken further steps to consolidate fiscal deficit in year 2019-20. However, considering the need for income support to farmers, we have provided Rs. 20,000 crore in 2018-19 RE and Rs. 75,000 crore in 2019-20 BE. If we exclude this, the fiscal deficit would have been less than 3.3% for 2018-19 and less than 3.1% for year 2019-20.”

The Macro-Economic Framework Statement says that the Revenue deficit in 2018-19 was budgeted at Rs. 4,16,034 crore, 2.2 % of GDP. On the other hand, the Current Account Deficit widened to 2.7 % of GDP in first half of 2018-19 from 1.9 % of GDP in 2017-18, mainly on account of higher trade deficit arising from higher petroleum, oil and lubricants imports. Despite the marginal increase, the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio is well on track to achieve its target level of 3% of GDP.

The main focus of the ensuing year will be to improve the expenditure efficiency and improve tax collections to ensure that the economy moves back to the fiscal deficit path as mentioned in the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management (FRBM) Act, says the Medium Term Fiscal Policy cum Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement.

Further, the above document says that the Gross Tax Revenue of the Central Government is budgeted at Rs. 25,52,131 crore in BE 2019-20. This reflects a growth of Rs. 3,03,956 crore (13.5 %) over RE 2018-19. Direct taxes are expected to reach Rs. 13,80,000 crore in BE 201920 compared to Rs. 12,00,000 crore in RE 2018-19 indicating an increase of 15 % over RE. It is expected that direct taxes would be 6.6 % of GDP at the end of 2019-20. Indirect taxes are budgeted at Rs. 11,66,188 crore in BE 2019-20 showing an increase of 11.8 % over RE estimates (Rs. 10,42,833 crore). The increase is mainly on account of improvement in GST collections anticipated in 2019-20.

Non-tax revenue collections in 2019-20 is budgeted at Rs. 2,72,647 crore as compared to Rs.2,45,276 crore in RE 2018-19. This shows an increase of Rs.27,371 crore over RE 2018- 19, as per the Medium Term Fiscal Policy cum Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement.

The Finance Minister, in his Budget Speech, said that the total expenditure has reflected a high increase considering low inflation. It has risen by Rs. 3,26,965 crore or approximately 13.30%, from Rs. 24,57,235 crore in 2018-19 RE to Rs. 27,84,200 crore in 2019-20 BE. Further, 2018-19 RE figures have shown an increase over BE 2018-19 figures by Rs. 15,022 crore. The Capital Expenditure for 2019-20 BE is estimated to be Rs. 3,36,292 crore. The increase in total expenditure is on account of increased support to agricultural sector, interest payments and internal security, as per the „Budget at a Glance‟ document.

In BE 2019-20, Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are proposed to be allocated Rs. 3,27,679 crore as against Rs. 3,04,849 crore in 2018-19 RE. Detailing further, Shri Goyal said in his Speech that allocation for National Education Mission is being increased from Rs. 32,334 crore in RE 2018-19 to Rs. 38,572 crore in BE 2019-20. Also, allocation for Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is being increased from Rs. 23,357 crore in RE 2018-19 to Rs. 27,584 crore in BE 2019-20.

“A substantial increase is proposed in the allocation for welfare of the Scheduled Castes and

Scheduled Tribes”, said Shri Goyal. The allocation of Rs. 56,619 crore made in BE of 2018-19 for Scheduled Caste, further increased to Rs. 62,474 crore in RE is proposed to be enhanced to Rs. 76,801 crore in BE for 2019-20, an increase of 35.6% over BE of 2018-19. For the Scheduled Tribes also, proposed allocation in 2019-20 BE is Rs. 50,086 crore as against Rs. 39,135 crore in BE 2018-19, an increase of 28%.

Regarding Disinvestment proceeds, the Government is confident of crossing the target of Rs. 80,000 crore this year and have kept a target of Rs. 90,000 crore in BE 2019-20, as per the “Budget at a Glance‟ document. Shri Goyal said in his Speech, “We have pursued the public enterprises asset management agenda to make these enterprises accountable to the people. As many as 57 CPSEs are now listed with total market capitalisation of over Rs. 13 lakh crore. The

Government received over Rs. 1 lakh crore from disinvestment proceeds during 2017-18.”

As per the Medium Term Fiscal Policy cum Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement, Non-Debt capital receipts on capital side are expected to be Rs.1,02,508 crore in BE 2019-20 indicating an increase of Rs. 9,353 crore over RE 2018-19. Increase in non-debt capital receipts is mostly on account of disinvestment which is budgeted at Rs.90,000 crore (RE 2018-19 – Rs. 80,000 crore). Total net borrowings in 2019-20 are projected at Rs.7,03,999 crore as compared to Rs.6,34,398 crore in RE 2018-19. This reflects an increase of 11 % over RE.

The Government had promised last year that it would carry out reforms in stamp duty levied and collected on financial securities transactions. Shri Goyal said in his Speech, “I am proposing, through the Finance Bill, necessary amendments in this regard. The amendments proposed would usher in a very streamlined system. Stamp duties would be levied on one instrument relating to one transaction and get collected at one place through the Stock Exchanges. The duty so collected will be shared with the State Governments seamlessly on the basis of domicile of buying client.”

While giving a vision for fiscal consolidation, Shri Goyal said in his Speech, “We have maintained the glide path towards our target of 3% of fiscal deficit to be achieved by 2020-21”. The Government will now focus on Debt consolidation along with completion of the fiscal deficit consolidation programme. India‟s Debt to GDP ratio was 46.5% in year 2017-18. The FRBM Act prescribes that the Debt to GDP ratio of the Government of India should be brought down to 40% by 2024-25, the Minister added.

The table below provides the estimates of fiscal performance against specified fiscal indicators during RE 2018-19 and BE 2019-20 and projections for 2020- 21 and 2021-22.

Fiscal Indicators – Rolling Targets as a Percentage of GDP (Source: Medium Term Fiscal Policy cum Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement)

GOVERNMENT PROPOSES TO LAUNCH MEGA PENSION YOJANA ‘PRADHAN MANTRI SHRAM-YOGI MAANDHAN’ FOR UNORGANISED SECTOR WORKERS

WITH MONTHLY INCOME UPTO Rs. 15,000; 10 CRORE LABOURERS AND WORKERS IN THE SECTOR TO BE BENEFITTED

The Government proposes to launch a mega pension yojana namely ‘Pradhan Mantri ShramYogi Maandhan’ for the unorganised sector workers with monthly income upto Rs. 15,000. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that half of India‟s GDP comes from the sweat and toil of 42 crore workers in the unorganised sector working as street vendors, rickshaw pullers, construction workers, rag pickers, agricultural workers, beedi workers, handloom, leather and in numerous other similar occupations. The Government must provide them comprehensive social security coverage for their old age. Therefore, in addition to the health coverage provided under „Ayushman Bharat‟ and life & disability coverage provided under „Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana‟ and „Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana‟, our Government proposes to launch a mega pension yojana namely ‘Pradhan Mantri ShramYogi Maandhan’ for the unorganised sector workers with monthly income upto Rs. 15,000.

Shri Goyal said that this pension yojana shall provide them an assured monthly pension of Rs. 3,000 from the age of 60 years on a monthly contribution of a small affordable amount during their working age. An unorganised sector worker joining pension yojana at the age of 29 years will have to contribute only Rs. 100 per month till the age of 60 years. A worker joining the pension yojana at 18 years, will have to contribute as little as Rs. 55 per month only. The Government will deposit equal matching share in the pension account of the worker every month. It is expected that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector will avail the benefit of ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan’ within next five years making it one of the largest pension schemes of the world. A sum of Rs. 500 crore has been allocated for the Scheme. Additional funds will be provided as needed. The scheme will also be implemented from the current year.

HIGEST EVER GROWTH OF 42% RECORDED IN MINIMUM WAGES OF LABOURS DURING LAST 5 YEARS

During the last 5 years, the minimum wages of labours of all classes have been increased by 42% which is the highest increase so far. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that the high growth and formalistation of the economy has led to the expansion of employment opportunities as shown in EPFO membership, which has increased by nearly 2 crore in 2 years reflecting formalisation of the economy and job creations.

Shri Goyal said that the 7th Pay Commission recommendations were implemented and New Pension Scheme (NPS) has been liberalized. The Government‟s contribution in NPS had been increased 10% to 14%. The limit of gratuity payment has been increased from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh. The limit of eligibility cover of ESIC has been increased from Rs. 15,000 per month to Rs. 21,000 per month. The minimum pension for all labours has been fixed at Rs. 1,000 per month. In case of the death of a labour during the service, the EPFO contribution has been increased from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 6 lakh. The honorarium of all classes of labours under Anganwadi and Asha scheme has been increased by about 50%.

GG/DSM/RM/SK/IA INTERIM BUDGET 2019-20

GOVERNEMNT TAKES SEVERAL MEASURES TO STRENGHTHEN MSMEs  

GeM PLATFORM EXTENDED TO ALL CPSEs

GOVERNMENT UNDERTAKINGS TO PROCURE A FIXED PROPORTION OF MATERIALS FROM WOMEN OWNED SMEs

The Government has taken several measures to strengthen the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs). While a Scheme of sanctioning loans upto Rs. 1 crore in 59 minutes has been launched, GST-Registered SME units will get 2% interest rebate on incremental loan of Rs. 1 crore. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that 25% sourcing by all the Government Undertakings will now have to be from SMEs. Of this, the material to the extent of at least 3% will be sourced from women owned SMEs, he added.

Highlighting the achievements of GeM, Shri Piyush Goyal said that transactions of over Rs.17,500 crore have taken place, resulting in savings of 25-28% on an average. “Government eMarketplace (GeM), created by our Government two years ago, has transformed public procurement by making it fully transparent, inclusive and efficient. MSMEs have an opportunity to sell their products through GeM”, the Finance Minister said. The GeM platform is now being extended to all CPSEs, he announced while presenting the Interim Budget.

Shri Piyush Goyal disclosed that the Government has recently assigned the subject of “promotion of internal trade including retail trading and welfare of traders, and their employees” to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which will now be renamed as the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade.

GOVERNMENT UNVEILS VISION FOR THE NEXT DECADE

The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past. India would be a modern, technology driven, high growth, equitable and transparent society.” said Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal while presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today.

The Minister further said, “India is poised to become a five trillion dollar economy in the next five years and aspires to become 10 trillion dollar economy thereafter.”

The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-

  1. To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
  2. Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
  3. To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
  4. Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
  5. Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
  6. Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India‟s coastline and ocean waters will power development
  7. Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
  8. Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
  9. A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all.
  10. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
  11. Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

FM: INDIA NOW 6TH LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD WITH HIGH GROWTH

FISCAL DEFICIT DOWN TO 3.4%; AVERAGE INFLATION 4.6% FDI OF USD 239 BN IN FIVE YEARS

BANKS RECOVER RS 3 LAKH CRORES IN OUTSTANDING LOANS

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14. Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991. Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

New India by 2022 

Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism

Fiscal Deficit and Inflation down

Outlining the broad picture of the State of the Economy, Shri Goyal said the fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19 Revised Estimates from the high of 5.8% in 2011-12 and 4.9 % in 2012-13. Average inflation has been brought down to 4.6% from the high of 10.1% during 2000-2014. In December 2018 inflation was 2.19% only. The Finance Minister said, the Current Account Deficit (CAD) is likely to be only 2.5% of GDP this year, against a high of 5.6% six years ago.

Shri Goyal said due to strong fundamentals and stable regulatory regime, the country attracted $239 billion as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last five years. He cited Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a path breaking next generation structural tax reform undertaken by the Government.

Recovery of Bank Loans

Highlighting the Banking Reforms, Shri Goyal said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has institutionalised a resolution-friendly mechanism and nearly Rs. 3 lakh crores has been recovered by Banks and creditors. He said high stressed non-performing assets (NPAs) amounted to Rs. 5.4 lakh crore in 2014. Since 2015, numerous Asset Quality Reviews and inspections were carried out, and the 4Rs approach of recognition, resolution, re-capitalisation and reforms has been followed. Highlighting the restoration of the health of the Public Sector Banks, the Finance Minister said that recapitalisation has been done with an investment of Rs.2.6 lakh crore.

Steps against corruption

Listing out the measures undertaken by the Government to bring about a New Era of transparency in Real Estate Sector, the Finance Minister mentioned about The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act. He said the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is helping to confiscate and dispose off the assets of economic offenders, who escape the jurisdiction of the country. He said the Government conducted transparent auction of natural resources including coal and spectrum.

Cleanliness

Highlighting the achievements of Swachhata Mission launched by the present government led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Goyal said the country achieved nearly 98% rural sanitation coverage with as many as 5.45 lakh villages being declared open defecation free.

EWS Reservation

To ensure 10% reservation in educational institutions and Government jobs for economically weaker sections, the Government will provide for 25% extra seats i.e. around 2 lacs, while maintaining the existing reservation for SC/ST/Other Backward Classes.

Food grains for poor

To provide food grains at affordable prices to the poor and middle classes, the Finance Minister said about Rs 1,70,000 crore was spent in 2018-19. Rs 60,000 crore has been allocated for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the Budget Estimate of 2019-20. 

GST, THE BIGGEST TAXATION REFORM, LED TO INCREASE IN TAX BASE, HIGHER COLLECTIONS AND EASE OF TRADE

RATES CONTINUOUSLY REDUCED PROVIDING RELIEF OF ABOUT R. 80,000

CRORE ANNUALLY TO CONSUMERS

MOST ITEMS OF DAILY USE OF POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS NOW IN THE 0% OR

5% TAX SLAB 

AVERAGE GST COLLECTION IN THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR STANDS AT 97,100 CRORE PER MONTH AS COMPARED TO RS. 89,700 CRORE PER MONTH IN THE FIRST YEAR

GST COUNCIL TO APPOINT A GROUP OF MINISTERS TO EXAMINE AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE GST BURDEN ON HOME BUYERS

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) reforms has resulted in increased tax base, higher collections and ease of trade. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “The Goods and Services Tax (GST) reforms lingered on during the previous Government for almost a decade. Our Government implemented the GST, which is undoubtedly the biggest taxation reform undertaken since Independence.”

Seventeen different taxes levied by the Central and State/UT Governments with cascading effect of tax on tax, were consolidated into one GST. India became a common market. GST has resulted in increased tax base, higher collections and ease of doing business. This will reduce the interface between the tax payers and the Government for day-to-day operations and assessments. The Minister said that now returns are fully online and e-way bill system is in place. Inter-state movements have become faster, more efficient, and hassle free with no Entry Tax, check posts, and truck queues among others.

The Finance Minister, Shri Goyal said, “The high taxation levied on multiple commodities in the pre-GST regime has been rationalised and the burden on the consumer, especially the poor and the middle class, has been significantly reduced.” The GST Council, comprising the Centre and States/UTs, finalised the GST rates collectively mostly lower than pre-GST rates. Since then, GST has been continuously reduced providing relief of about Rs. 80,000 crore annually to consumers. Most items of daily use of the poor and middle class are now in the 0% or 5% tax slab. Cinema goers who were subjected to multiple taxes up to 50% are mostly paying much lower tax at 12% now.

The Finance Minister, Shri Goyal said that our Government wants the GST burden on home buyers to be reduced and accordingly we have moved the GST Council to appoint a Group of Ministers to examine and make recommendations in this regard at the earliest.

Shri Goyal said that GST aims to benefit small traders, manufacturers and service providers. Exemptions from GST for small businesses has been doubled from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh. Further, small businesses having turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crore have been given an attractive composition scheme wherein they pay only 1% flat rate and have to file one annual return only. Similarly, small service providers with turnover upto Rs. 50 lakhs can now opt for composition scheme and pay GST at 6% instead of 18%. More than 35 lakh small traders, manufacturers and service providers will benefit from these trader friendly measures. Soon, businesses comprising over 90% of GST payers will be allowed to file quarterly return, the Minister added.

The Finance Minister asserted that in spite of such major rate reductions and relaxations, revenue trends are encouraging. He said, “The average monthly tax collection in the current year is Rs. 97,100 crore per month as compared to Rs. 89,700 crore per month in the first year. The State revenues are improving with guaranteed 14% annual revenue increase for the first five years.”

TAX COLLECTIONS INCREASED FROM RS 6.38 LAKH CRORE IN YEAR 2013-14 TO ALMOST RS 12 LAKH CRORE THIS YEAR . 80% GROWTH IN TAX BASE; NUMBER OF RETURNS FILED INCREASED FROM 3.79 CRORE TO 6.85 CRORE . WITHIN THE NEXT 2 YEARS, ALMOST ALL VERIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT OF RETURNS SELECTED FOR SCRUTINY TO BE DONE ELECTRONICALLY

The Government has reduced tax rates, more for the common man and middle class, and made the interface with the tax department much simpler and largely faceless. Due to this, the tax collections increased significantly from Rs 6.38 lakh crore in 2013-14 to almost Rs 12 lakh crore this year. The number of returns filed have also increased from 3.79 crore to 6.85 crore showing 80% growth in tax base.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “I thank the honest taxpayers of India for reposing faith in our Government. Let me assure them that we have used their contribution to serve the poor and create better infrastructure.”

The Income Tax Department now functions online. Returns, assessments, refunds and queries are all undertaken online. Last year, 99.54% of the income-tax returns were accepted as they were filed. Shri Piyush Goyal said that the Government has now approved a path breaking, technology intensive project to transform the Income-tax Department into a more assesseefriendly one. All returns will be processed in twenty-four hours and refunds issued simultaneously.”

Within the next two years, almost all verification and assessment of returns selected for scrutiny will be done electronically through anonymised back office, manned by tax experts and officials, without any personal interface between taxpayers and tax officers, he added.

The Minister said that reducing the tax burden on middle class has always been our priority ever since the Government took over in 2014. The Government increased the basic exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 Lakh and gave tax rebate so that no tax was payable by persons having income up to Rs 3 lakh. The Government also reduced the tax rate from 10% to 5% for the tax slab of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and introduced Standard Deduction of Rs 40,000 for the salaried class. Deduction of savings under section 80C was increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. Deduction of interest for self-occupied house property was raised from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.

Special benefits and incentives were also given to small businesses and startups. Overall compliance processes were simplified. Threshold limit for presumptive taxation of business was raised from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore. The benefit of presumptive taxation was extended for the first time to small professionals fixing threshold limit at Rs 50 lakh. In order to promote a less cash economy, the presumptive profit rate has been reduced from 8% to 6%. The tax rate for companies with turnover of up to Rs 250 crore, covering almost 99% of the companies, was reduced to 25% which was also applicable to new manufacturing companies without any turnover limits.

RATIONALIZATION OF CUSTOMS DUTY AND PROCEDURES TO GIVE BOOST TO “MAKE IN INDIA” INITIATIVE RFID TECHNOLOGY TO BE USED TO IMPROVE EXPORT LOGISTICS

The Government has undertaken rationalization of customs duties and procedures to promote the “Make in India” initiative.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for

Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “The Government has abolished duties on 36 capital goods. A revised system of importing duty-free capital goods and inputs for manufacture and export has been introduced, along with introduction of single point of approval under Section 65 of the Customs Act.

Indian Customs is introducing full and comprehensive digitalization of export/import transactions and leveraging RFID technology to improve export logistics, the Minister added.

ANTI-BLACK MONEY MEASURES BROUGHT UNDISCLOSED INCOME OF ABOUT RS 1.3 LAKH CRORE TO TAX RS 6,900 CRORE WORTH BENAMI ASSETS AND RS 1600 CRORE WORTH FOREIGN ASSETS ATTACHED

18% GROWTH IN DIRECT TAX COLLECTION IN FY 2017-18

TAX BASE INCREASED BY 1.06 CRORE PEOPLE FILING ITR FOR 1ST TIME MAINLY ON ACCOUNT OF DEMONETIZATION

The anti-black money measures taken by the Government during the last four and half years in the form of Black Money Law, the Fugitive Criminal Offenders Act, and Demonetisation, have brought undisclosed income of about Rs 1,30,000 crore to tax. These measures have also led to seizure and attachment of assets worth approximately Rs 50,000 crore, and compelled holders of large cash currency to disclose their source of earnings.

While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today the Union Minister for

Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said, “Our Government is committed to eliminating the ills of black money from our country.”

During this period, Benami assets worth Rs 6,900 crore and foreign assets worth Rs 1,600 crore have been attached. As many as 3,38,000 shell companies have been detected and de-registered, and their directors disqualified.

The Minister said that there is 18% growth in direct tax collection in 2017-18 and increase in tax base by as many as 1.06 crore people filing income tax returns for the first time in FY 2017-18 is mainly on account of demonetization.

ONE LAKH VILLAGES TO GO DIGITAL OVER NEXT FIVE YEARS  

JAM-DBT – GAME CHANGERS SINCE BANK NATIONALISATION HALF CENTURY AGO

34 CRORE NEW BANK ACCOUNTS IN LAST FIVE YEARS UNDER JANDHAN;

AADHAAR REACH NEAR UNIVERSAL

SINGLE WINDOW CLEARANCE FOR FILM SHOOT, AVAILABLE TO FOREIGNERS, TO BE EXTENDED TO INDIAN FILMMAKERS CINEMATOGRAPH ACT TO BE AMENDED TO CHECK PIRACY

India having emerged as the world leader in the consumption of mobile data, the Government now aims to widen its impact by reaching out to the interior and rural areas. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said the Government will make one lakh villages into Digital Villages over next five years. This, he said, will be achieved by expanding the Common Service Centres (CSCs).

“The Common Service Centres are expanding their services and also creating digital infrastructure in the villages, including connectivity, to convert the villages into Digital Villages,” said Shri Piyush Goyal. “More than 3 lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) employing about 12 lakh people, are digitally delivering several services to the citizens,” he added.

The Finance Minister said mobile tariff in India is now possibly the lowest in the world, catapulting India as the world leader in the consumption of mobile data.

“Monthly consumption of mobile data increased by over 50 times in the last five years.

The cost of data and voice calls in India is now possibly the lowest in the world.”

Shri Piyush Goyal said the „Make in India‟ programme has seen India emerging as the new destination for mobile phone manufacturing industry. “Today, under Make in India, mobile and parts manufacturing companies have increased from 2 to more than 268 providing huge job opportunities,” he added.

JAM-DBT, the next big game changer since Bank Nationalisation 

The Finance Minister termed the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) and Direct Benefit Transfer as game changers.

“Bank nationalisation was first done 50 years ago, but a large part of the country was still left out of the economic mainstream with no access to formal banking. In the last five years, nearly 34 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts were opened,” said Shri Piyush Goyal.

The Finance Minister said Aadhaar has ensured better targeted subsidies.

“Aadhaar is now near universally implemented. This has helped ensure the poor and middle class receive the benefits of Government schemes directly in their bank accounts by eliminating middlemen,” he said.

Single window clearance for film shoot extended to Indian filmmakers 

Recognising India‟s Entertainment Industry as a major job sector, the Finance Minister declared extension of single window clearance for film shoot to Indian filmmakers. “Single window clearance for ease of shooting films, available only to foreigners, is now going to be made available to Indian filmmakers as well,” said Shri Piyush Goyal.

The Finance Minister also announced other measures to ease filmmaking and check piracy. “Regulatory provisions will rely more on self-declaration. We will also introduce anticamcording provisions in the Cinematograph Act to control the menace of piracy,” he said.

DEFENCE BUDGET HIKED TO Rs. 3,05,296 CRORE

Rs. 3,05,296 crore have been provided in the Budget Estimates for 2019-20, compared to Rs. 2,82,733 crore provided in 2018-19 Budget Estimates. The figures were revised to Rs. 2,85,423 crore in the Revised Estimates of 2018-19. While presenting the Interim Budget 201920 in Parliament today the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal Sh. Piyush Goyal said “Our Defence Budget will be crossing Rs.3,00,000 crore for the first time in 2019-20. For securing our borders and to maintain preparedness of the highest order, if necessary, additional funds would be provided.”

On the issue of strengthening Defence and National Security, the Interim Budget 2019-20 states that our soldiers protect our borders in tough conditions and they are our pride and honour. The Finance Minister Sh. Goyal said that due care has been taken of their honour. He said that the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP) which was pending for the last forty years has been resolved. He said “The previous Governments announced it in three budgets but sanctioned a mere Rs.500 crore in 2014-15 Interim Budget; in contrast we have already disbursed over Rs.35,000 crore after implementing the Scheme in its’ true spirit. The Government also announced substantial hike in the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air Force personnel deployed in high risk duties.”

GOVERNMENT ALLOCATES Rs.64,587 CRORE FOR RAILWAYS IN 2019-20  – INFRA ALLOCATION FOR NORTH EASTERN AREAS INCREASED BY 21% TO Rs.58,166 CRORE IN 2019-20 

In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the Railways has been allocated Rs.64,587 crore. The Railways‟ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs.1,58,658 crore. This was stated by the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal, while presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today.

Shri Piyush Goyal said – “Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history as all Unmanned Level Crossings on broad gauge network have been eliminated”.

Vande Bharat Express:

Introduction of the first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety. This major leap in wholly developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the Make in India programme and create jobs.

The Finance Minister stated that “infrastructure is the backbone of any nation‟s development and quality of life. Whether it is highways or railways or airways or even digi-ways, we have gone beyond incremental growth to attain transformative achievements.”

Infra in North East Region: 

The number of operational airports has crossed 100 with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim. Domestic passenger traffic has doubled during the last five years leading to large number of jobs being created also. Today, India is the fastest highway developer in the world with 27 kms of highways built each day. Projects stuck for decades like the Eastern Peripheral Highway around Delhi or the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have been completed. The flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas of the country will develop ports for faster handling of import and export cargo. For the first time, container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi. Our Government will introduce container cargo movement to the North East as well, by improving the navigation capacity of the Brahmaputra river.

The Finance Minister announced that the people of North East have received significant benefits of infrastructure development in this Interim Budget. Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India‟s rail map for the first time. Allocation for the North Eastern Areas is being proposed to be increased by 21% to ` Rs.58,166 crore in 2019-20 BE over 2018-19 BE.

Boost to Renewable Energy:

The Finance Minister “while presenting the Interim Budget stated that India provided leadership to the global effort to address the problem of climate change. Our commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting-up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India. India‟s installed solar generation capacity has grown over ten times in last five years. This sector is now creating lakhs of new age jobs.”

India’s import dependence on crude oil and natural gas has been a source of big concern to our Government. While we have taken a large number of measures to moderate the increasing demand through usage of bio fuel and alternate technologies, urgent action is needed to increase hydrocarbon production to reduce imports. A high level Inter-Ministerial Committee, constituted by our Government, has made several specific recommendations, including transforming the system of bidding for exploration, changing from revenue sharing to exploration programme for Category II and III basins. The Government is in the process of implementing these recommendations, the Minister said

RS.1330 CRORE PROVIDED IN THE INTERIM BUDGET 2019-20 FOR THE MISSION FOR PROTECTION AND EMPOWERMENT FOR WOMEN

 An amount of Rs.1330 Crore has been provided in the Interim Budget for 2019-20 for the Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women. This is an increase of Rs. 174 Crore over the Revised Estimates of 2018-19 for the Mission.

While taking several welfare initiatives for women, the emphasis of the Government has been to move from “women’s development” to “women led development” during the last 4.5 years. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that the Government embarked upon the programme to deliver 8 crore free LPG connections under the Ujjawala Yojana. 6 crores connections have already been given and the remaining will get free gas connections by next year. “Ujjwala is a remarkable success story of our Government programme, defined by a bold yet practical Vision of a responsible and compassionate leadership”, the Finance Minister said.

Shri Piyush Goyal further added that More than 70% of the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana are women who are getting affordable and collateral-free loans to start their own businesses.

Highlighting the benefits of Maternity leave of 26 weeks and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana for pregnant women, the Finance Minister said that these initiatives have provided financial support to women while empowering them to participate in work.

INTERIM BUDGET 2019-2020

 A COMMITTEE UNDER NITI AAYOG TO BE SET -UP TO COMPLETE TASK OF

IDENTIFYING DE-NOTIFIED, NOMADIC AND SEMI-NOMADIC COMMUNITIES NOT YET FORMALLY CLASSIFIED

A Committee under NITI Aayog will be set-up to complete the task of identifying De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities not yet formally classified. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that the Government will also set-up a Welfare Development Board under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment specifically for the purpose of implementing welfare and development programmes for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities. The Board shall ensure that special strategies are designed and implemented to serve these hard to-reach communities.

Shri Goyal said that the Government is committed to reach the most deprived citizens of this country. To this end, the condition of the De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities merits special attention. These communities are hard to reach, less visible, and therefore, frequently left-out. The Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities move from place to place in search of a livelihood. The Renke Commission and the Idate Commission have done commendable work to identify and list these communities. 

INTERIM BUDGET 2019-2020

 15.56 CRORE LOANS AMOUNTING TO Rs. 7,23,000 CRORE DISBURSED UNDER MUDRA YOJANA

 GOVERNMENT ENVISAGES NATIONAL PROGRAMME ON ‘ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE’

Under MUDRA Yojana, 15.56 crore loans have been disbursed amounting to Rs. 7,23,000 crore. While presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said that India is amongst the most youthful nations in the world. Through Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, over 1 crore youth are being trained to help them earn a livelihood. Youth power has been harnessed through Self-employment Schemes including MUDRA, Start-up India and Stand-up India. With job seekers becoming job creators, India has become the world‟s second largest start-up hub. The Government is proud of the hard work and innovative ideas of our youth. 

Shri Goyal said that in order to take the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and related technologies to the people, a National Programme on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has been envisaged by the Government. This would be catalysed by the establishment of the National Centre on Artificial Intelligence as a hub along with Centres of Excellence. Nine priority areas have been identified. A National Artificial Intelligence portal will also be developed soon.

INTERIM BUDGET 2019-20

FM: INDIA NOW 6TH LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD WITH HIGH GROWTH

FISCAL DEFICIT DOWN TO 3.4%; AVERAGE INFLATION 4.6%  

FDI OF USD 239 BN IN FIVE YEARS

BANKS RECOVER RS 3 LAKH CRORES IN OUTSTANDING LOANS 

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14. Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991. Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

New India by 2022 

Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism

Fiscal Deficit and Inflation down

Outlining the broad picture of the State of the Economy, Shri Goyal said the fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3.4% in 2018-19 Revised Estimates from the high of 5.8% in 2011-12 and 4.9 % in 2012-13. Average inflation has been brought down to 4.6% from the high of 10.1% during 2000-2014. In December 2018 inflation was 2.19% only. The Finance Minister said, the Current Account Deficit (CAD) is likely to be only 2.5% of GDP this year, against a high of 5.6% six years ago.

Shri Goyal said due to strong fundamentals and stable regulatory regime, the country attracted $239 billion as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last five years. He cited Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a path breaking next generation structural tax reform undertaken by the Government.

Recovery of Bank Loans

Highlighting the Banking Reforms, Shri Goyal said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has institutionalised a resolution-friendly mechanism and nearly Rs. 3 lakh crores has been recovered by Banks and creditors. He said high stressed non-performing assets (NPAs) amounted to Rs. 5.4 lakh crore in 2014. Since 2015, numerous Asset Quality Reviews and inspections were carried out, and the 4Rs approach of recognition, resolution, re-capitalisation and reforms has been followed. Highlighting the restoration of the health of the Public Sector Banks, the Finance Minister said that recapitalisation has been done with an investment of Rs.2.6 lakh crore.

Steps against corruption

Listing out the measures undertaken by the Government to bring about a New Era of transparency in Real Estate Sector, the Finance Minister mentioned about The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act. He said the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is helping to confiscate and dispose off the assets of economic offenders, who escape the jurisdiction of the country. He said the Government conducted transparent auction of natural resources including coal and spectrum.

Cleanliness

Highlighting the achievements of Swachhata Mission launched by the present government led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Goyal said the country achieved nearly 98% rural sanitation coverage with as many as 5.45 lakh villages being declared open defecation free.

EWS Reservation

To ensure 10% reservation in educational institutions and Government jobs for economically weaker sections, the Government will provide for 25% extra seats i.e. around 2 lacs, while maintaining the existing reservation for SC/ST/Other Backward Classes.

Food grains for poor

To provide food grains at affordable prices to the poor and middle classes, the Finance Minister said about Rs 1,70,000 crore was spent in 2018-19. Rs 60,000 crore has been allocated for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the Budget Estimate of 2019-20.

COFMOW achieves best ever performance with an output of Rs. 1050.85 crore for the current FY 2018-19

NEW DELHI: The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) is Indian Railways’ centre of excellence for procurement of modern and advanced machine tools, building ‘State of the Art’ rolling stock maintenance and manufacturing facilities for modernizing Indian Railway workshops. The Unit has achieved best ever performance of Rs. 1050.85 crores output during the year 2018-19, up to 15th January, 2019. Performance for machinery procurement and rolling stock works is Rs. 634.14 crores and Rs. 416.71 crores respectively, which represents an increase of 97% and 128% respectively as compared to the last year.

Timely procurement of modern M&P and completion of works has been given a big boost during the last quarter which will significantly improve the outcome by use of technology. This will support Indian Railways drive for modernization of its rolling stock manufacturing and maintenance infrastructure, and soon, to come in terms of the National Policy for Advance Manufacturing (NPAM) and Industry 4.0.

JSPL completes over 55% of Rail order: Naushad Ansari, Joint Managing Director, JSPL

NEW DELHI: Jindal Steel and Power Ltd has shipped over 55 per cent of the order bagged from Indian Railways to supply about one lakh tonne rails.

In July 2018, JSPL has bagged 20 per cent of the Rs 2,500 crore global tender by the Indian Railways to supply long rails.

It was to supply around 1 lakh tonnes of rails to the national transporter over a period of one year.

” We have already supplied 54,302 tonne rails out of 97,400 tonnes. We expect to  complete the entire order by February,  several months  ahead of scheduled delivery period” Naushad Ansari, Joint Managing Director, JSPL said.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Indian Railways in boosting the infrastructure development in the country. We continue to stay committed to developing India’s infrastructure needs and contribute in Nation Building.” He added.

According to media reports, the Railways has indicated a demand of about 14 lakh tonne during 2018-19 and 17 lakh tonne in 2019-20.

“We are well equipped and look forward to serve the Railways,” Ansari said.

In India, only two steel companies manufacture rails. Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL)  at its Bhilai Steel Plant, and Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) at its Raigarh Plant.

SAIL was the only supplier of rails to the Railways until JSPL bagged an order in July 2018 to supply 1 lakh tonne rails to the national transporter.

Indian Railways is looking at 4,000 km of track renewal in each financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20.

It had invited the global tender for procuring around 4.87 lakh tonne of rails after anticipating that SAIL would not be able to supply the required amount of rails.

Indian Railways plans 1 GW Solar Power by 2020-21

The ambitious plan would help Indian Railways to source about 10% of its electrical energy from renewables.

NEW DELHI: As part of Go Green Initiatives, Indian Railways has already installed about 71.19 MW of rooftop PV at railways stations and service buildings.  Wind turbines with a capacity of 36.5 MW have been installed, out of which 26 MW at Jaisalmer was installed in 2015-16. The Indian Minister of State of Railways, Rajen Gohain, announced the achievement while speaking in Lok Sabha recently.

Building on this achievement, Indian Railways is planning to add solar panels to the rooftops of its rolling stock. It has already provided solar panels on rooftop of 19 narrow-gauge coaches and 23 broad-gauge non-air conditioned coaches in service.

The rooftop solar systems provide power for  around four to five hours, charging battery systems during this time. The systems do not work at full capacity during fog/rain and winter season and battery backup goes down to two to three hours depending upon weather conditions.

“Railways will provide solar panels on the rooftop of general coaches of two day-running intercity trains in Northern and Southern Railway and 50% Narrow Gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section of Northern Railway for conducting extended trials for one year in all weather conditions,” the minister added.

The government of India is encouraging cash-rich public sector undertakings to set up renewable energy projects. Indian Railways has committed to develop 5 GW of solar power by 2025.

Indian Railways briefed Parliament on roof top Solar Panels

Indian Railways have already provided solar panels on roof top of 19 Narrow Gauge coaches on Trains in Kalka – Shimla and Kangra Valley in Northern Railway and 23 Broad Gauge non-air conditioned coaches in service

(13 coaches in 2 trains of Northern Railway, 7 coaches in 1 train of Southern Railway, 2 coaches in 1 train of Konkan Railway and 1 coach in 1 train of West Central Railway). Solar system works during sunlight and generates battery backup of approx. 4 to 5 hours.

System does not work properly during fog/rain and winter season and battery backup goes down to 2 to 3 hours depending upon weather condition.

Railways have taken decision to provide solar panel on roof top of general coaches of two number of day running intercity trains in Northern and Southern Railway and 50% Narrow Gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in

Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section of Northern Railway for conducting extended trials for one year in all weather conditions.

This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways, Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Expect 34 FOBs, 85 Escalators on Western Railway Line in Mumbai in 2019

In 2019, around 34 FOBs, 85 escalators and 59 lifts are likely to come up on Churchgate-Virar suburban railway corridor.

MUMBAI: In order to cater to 36 lakh commuters, Western Railway has decided to construct 34-foot over-bridges, 85 escalators and 59 lifts that are likely to come up on Churchgate -Virar suburban railway corridor in 2019.

On Sunday, newly appointed Western Railway Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Sunil Kumar Sag announced that he will fast-track all projects related to passenger amenities, including construction of wider foot over-bridges (FOBs), escalators, lifts, and other facilities at suburban stations in 2019.

Sag said that they will also ensure faster ticket booking experience at all stations and speedy dispersal of commuters from station areas. All access routes to stations will be clear of encroachments, he further added.

Along with this, WR has announced that it has started 25 exclusive counters to issue season tickets at 22 stations and 13 special UTS windows for women, senior citizens and the disabled at 11 stations.

Railways to extend 4 lines in Himachal Pradesh

SHIMLA: Railways is going to expand four railways lines network in Himachal Pradesh. Projects taken up for expansion include 63.1 km long Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri railway line at an estimated cost Rs 6,769 crore, 50 km long Una-Hamirpur railway line at an estimated cost of Rs 3,044.10 crore , 33.23 km long Chandigarh-Baddi railway line at an estimated cost of Rs 1,540 crore, and 112.9 km long Nangal Dam-Talwara railway line at an estimated cost of Rs 2,528.49 crore.

BJP’s Shimla MP Virender Kashyap had raised the question about expansion of railway network in Himachal Pradesh in Lok Sabha. In his reply to his query, Union minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain said the Railway has taken up above four railways project lines for expansion of network in Himachal Pradesh .

The MP said that Una-Hamirpur railway line expansion project has been included in the budget. He said two surveys have been conducted to connect famous Sikh religious place Paonta Sahib with railway network. A survey for new broad gauge track from Ghanauli to Dehradun via Baddi, Nalagarh, Jagadhari, Surajpur, Kala Amb, Paonta Sahib (216 km) was completed in 2011, he added.

“According to survey report, the cost of proposed new broad gauge line was assessed as Rs 3,746 crore with rate of return of (-) 0.40 %. Project could not be taken forward due to low rate of return, poor traffic and financial projections,” he said. Kashyap said the minister had also informed him about one more survey from Pehowa to Paonta Sahib via Jagadhri and Yamunanagar was completed in 2013-14. According to the survey report, the estimated cost of 145 km project is Rs 1,954 crore with (-) 3.90% rate of return.

Railway Ministry to approach CCEA for doubling of Railway Line from New Bongaigaon to Guwahati via Rangiya: Piyush Goyal

GUWAHATI: Union Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal said that Railway Ministry will soon approach Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for clearance of doubling of railway line from New Bongaigaon to Guwahati via Rangiya.

Goyal who was in Guwahati on Saturday while addressing a review meeting of senior railway officers at Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Headquarters said that following the major success of completing Bogibeel Bridge, all efforts should now be pointed towards doubling of railway lines in the region for capacity enhancement.

He asked the officials to prepare a Plan of Action within one week. The Minister also spoke to Forest Minister of Assam, Parimal Suklabaidya for ensuring quick permission for soil procurement permission which is presently hampering project progress in Assam.

The Railway Minister was apprised that Tetelia – Byrnihat new railway line, doubling of Lumding – Hojai section, Agartala – Sabroom new railway line and international line from Jogbani would be ready very soon.

Goyal promised to name one premium passenger train after the Goddess Kamakhya as a mark of obeisance and respect of the entire Indian Railway family.

He addressed the concluding ceremony of All India Janajati Sports Meet near Sonapur at the outskirt of the city where he elaborated on the developmental initiatives of the Railway Ministry for the Northeastern region, he said timely completion of projects has always been topmost priority of the current government and the added thrust for this had resulted in timely completion of Bogibeel project which would be a boon for the people of not only Assam but the entire Northeast.

Goyal said the use of sound of Honey Bee for chasing away elephants from railway track was an example of rural innovation that can bring in real transformation. NFR’s Rangiya division had successfully installed a mechanism where sound of bee is amplified whenever elephants are spotted near railway track to chase them away, thereby saving wild elephants from being hit by trains. The Minister said such mechanism would be considered for replication elsewhere in the country.

Jammu-Poonch Rail Line survey report under examination: GoI

Survey for 223-kilometer Jammu to Poonch railway stretch was completed in September, 2017. As per survey report, the cost of the project is Rs 22771.55 crore with ROR (-) 4.54%.

JAMMU/NEW DELHI: The survey report of Jammu-Poonch Railway Line is being examined by the ministry of railways, Government of India, union minister of state in the ministry of railways, Rajen Gohain told Lok Sabha in reply to an unstarred question of Member Parliament, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday.

Survey for 223-kilometer Jammu to Poonch railway stretch was completed in September, 2017. As per survey report, the cost of the project is Rs 22771.55 crore with ROR (-) 4.54%.

Replying another query of Dr Farooq Abdullah regarding government of India’s plans for railway connectivity with Kashmir Valley, the union MoS railways said, “With a view to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir, government of India planned a 326-Km long railway line joining the Kashmir Valley with the Indian railways network. Out of 326-Km, Baramulla to Banihal stretch of 136 km and Jammu to Katra stretch of 79 Km have been completed and commissioned. Katra-Banihal (111 km) work has been taken up.”

Pertinently, the Jammu-Poonch rail line project, proposed from Jammu Tawi station via the historic city of Akhnoor to Poonch via Kaleeth-Dori Dager-Chowki Choura-Bhambla-Nowshera-Rajouri, was conceived during the tenure of Congress led UPA-II government. The railway project has also been declared as a national project by then union railway minister Mukul Roy on 22 March 2012.

The incumbent union railways minister, Piyush Goyal had also said in December last year that the Jammu-Poonch railway project would be taken up soon.

Guntur-Tenali Railway line doubling and electrification by February 2018

GUNTUR: The doubling and electrification works of Guntur-Tenali railway line will be completed in February, officials concerned said.The line, which extends up to 24 kilometres, is a critical link serving Guntur, Tenali and Vijayawada regions. Till now, Rs.167.37 crore has been spent on the project, which involves construction of two major and 40 minor bridges. Works for them, along with track linking with ‘class-II rails’ in mid-section, have been completed.

A railway station has been built at Vejendla and works for a new station building at Sangam Jagarlamundi, along with two platforms and one footbridge, is nearing completion.Increase in rail services in the region have put a lot of strain on the authorities to manage traffic. As of now, long-distance trains running between Tenali and Vijayawada have to take a diversion to New Guntur to provide connectivity to Guntur city.

This was the reason behind the SCR taking up the project for doubling of railway line between Guntur and Tenali. It simultaneously undertook the electrification works. Once developed, the line will help the SCR in additional revenue generation as transportation for goods and produce from mineral-rich Palnadu region will be enhanced.

100 Feet tall National Flag Hoisted at Secunderabad Railway Station

SECUNDERABAD: Secunderabad Railway Station became the first railway station of South Central Railway to hoist a gigantic Tricolour on a 100 feet tall pole in the circulating area of its main entrance. The flag is an attempt of Secunderabad Division to rekindle the spirit of nationalism and instill the sense of pride among rail passengers.

The flag was hoisted by Sri R. Ashoka Chary, Senior Cabinman, Sri Gopal Reddy, Senior Technician/Works in presence of Shri C.B.N. Prasad, Station Manager, Shri Ashok Kumar, Superintendent of Police/GRP and members of the Public.

The Railway Board has directed that National Flags be hoisted at ‘A1’ category railway stations on the Indian Railways, acting upon which SCR has taken the initiative.

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd appoints Sudhanshu Saraf as CEO – Steel Business

NEW DELHI: Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), India’s steel and power major, today announced appointment of Mr. Sudhanshu Saraf as the Chief Executive Officer of Steel Business. The appointment of Mr. Sudhanshu Saraf as CEO – Steel Business comes alongwith the elevation of Mr. Naushad Akhter Ansari as Joint Managing Director (JMD) of JSPL.

“We welcome Mr. Sudhanshu Saraf in his role as Chief Executive Officer of JSPL’s Steel Business. Mr. Saraf’s deep understanding in identifying and deploying actions on System Constraints for maximizing benefit of existing systems will go a long way in realizing the continuous efficiency enhancement and operational excellence roadmap at JSPL”, Mr. N. A. Ansari, Joint Managing Director, JSPL said.

Mr.Ansari was elevated from his designation as CEO – Steel Business on 1st January 2019, and has been instrumental in leading the turnaround of JSPL. The 6 MTPA integrated steel plant at Angul was fully commissioned and completed during his tenure as CEO – Steel Business. Prior to taking over the reins as CEO – Steel Business, Mr.Ansari was instrumental in completion and successful commissioning of 2 MTPA integrated steel plant at Sohar (Oman).

“I see JSPL in a position of strength on many counts. I am excited about this opportunity to leverage these strengths to take JSPL to unprecedented heights.” Mr. Sudhanshu Saraf said.

Mr. Saraf would be directly responsible for the domestic and international steel operations of the company with capacities of 10.6 MTPA spread across Angul (Odisha), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Patratu (Jharkhand) and Sohar (Oman). The mining business of the company spread across Tensa (Odisha) and key international coal mining operations in Australia, Mozambique and South Africa would also come in Mr. Saraf’s portfolio.

Mr. Sudhanshu Saraf has been associated with JSPL for the past 3 years as a Consultant for companywide implementation of Theory of Constraints (TOC). With over 30 years of experience, Mr. Saraf has been a practicing TOC consultant for last 15+ years specializing in Whole System Thinking and System Design for sustainable delivery. An alumnus of Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU), Mr. Saraf completed Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) in Metallurgical Engineering in 1987. He is a Master Black Belt in Lean & Six Sigma.

Part of the USD 18 billion O P Jindal Group, JSPL has presence in steel, power, mining and infrastructure sectors.

ODIA Signals to be inter-linked to all Level Crossings: ECOR

 213 Manned Level Crossing Gates in ECoR Interlocked for ensuring Safe Traffic
 34 Mid-Section LC Gates Interlocked in current Financial Year
 LC Gates to be closed automatically, when the train reaches at a specific point before the Gate.

BHUBANESWAR: East Coast Railway has initiated interlocking of mid-section Level Crossing Gates in its jurisdiction to enhance Safety. Basically, at the Level Crossing Gates, what we see,   the Gatekeeper closes down the Gates when the train reaches the previous Station. Vehicles on the Road wait for some time in most cases unless the LC Gates are close to the Station. With interlocking, the Level Crossing Gates got closed automatically when the train reaches near the specific point. The signal will not allow the train to move if the Level Crossing Gate is not closed.

Recently, ECoR has eliminated all the Unmanned Level Crossings from its jurisdiction. Now, ECoR has 538 Level Crossing Gates in the mid section out of total 739 Manned Level Crossing Gates. Altogether, ECoR has interlocked 412 Level Crossing Gates including 213 Manned Level Crossing Gates in the mid-section where as 34 Level Crossing Gates have been interlocked till now, during the current financial year.

Of the total Level Crossings, 97 mid-section Manned Level Crossing Gates have been interlocked till now, whose Train Vehicle Unit (TVU) is more than 50 thousand. Till the third quarter of the Current Financial Year, ECoR has made 10 such Level Crossing Gates with Interlocking System.

Total Manned Level Crossing Gate = 739
Mid-Section Manned Level Crossing Gate = 538
Manned Level Crossing Gate near Stations=201
Total Manned Level Crossing Gates Interlocked = 412
Total Manned Level Crossing Gates Interlocked in Mid-Section = 213
Total Manned Level Crossing Gates Interlocked near Stations = 199
Total Manned Level Crossings waiting to be interlocked = 327

ସମସ୍ତ ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକକୁ ସଂକେତ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀ ସହ ଯୋଡ଼ାଯିବ I

ସୁବିଧାଜନକ ଭାବେ ରେଳ ଓ ସଡକ ପରିବହନ ପାଇଁ ଷ୍ଟେସନ ମଧ୍ୟବର୍ତ୍ତୀ ୨୧୩ ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକକୁ  ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀସହ ଯୋଡାଯାଇଅଛି  I

ଚଳିତ ଆର୍ଥିକ ବର୍ଷରେ ୩୪ଟି ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫଟାକର ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀ ବ୍ୟବସ୍ଥା I

ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକ ପୂର୍ବରୁ ଏକ ସଠିକ ସ୍ଥାନରେ ଟ୍ରେନ ପହଁଚିଲେ ଆପେଆପେ ଗେଟ ବନ୍ଦ ହେବ I

ରେଳ ଓ ସଡକ ଯାତ୍ରୀମାନଙ୍କ ସୁରକ୍ଷା ସହ ସୁବିଧାଜନକ ଭାବେ ରେଳ ଓ ସଡକ ପରିବହନ ପାଇଁ ପୂର୍ବତଟ ରେଳପଥ ଏହାର ପରିସୀମା ମଧ୍ୟରେ ଷ୍ଟେସନ ମଧ୍ୟବର୍ତ୍ତୀ ଅଂଚଳରେ ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକଗୁଡିକୁ ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀସହ ଯୋଡିବାକୁ ପଦକ୍ଷେପ ହାତକୁ ନେଇଛି I

ବସ୍ତୁତଃ, ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକଠାରେ ଆମେ ଦେଖୁ ଯେ ଫାଟକର ପୂର୍ବ ଷ୍ଟେସନରେ ଟ୍ରେନ ପହଂଚିବାପରେ ଫାଟକ ଜଗୁଆଳି ଫାଟକକୁ ବନ୍ଦ କରିଥାଏ I  ଷ୍ଟେସନ ପାଖରେଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକଠାରେ ସଡକ ଯାନ ଓ ସଡକ ବ୍ୟବହାରକାରୀ ମାନେ ଟ୍ରେନ ଆସିବା ସମୟରେ କିଛିକ୍ଷଣ ଅପେକ୍ଷା କରିଥାନ୍ତି I  ସଂକେତ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀସହ ଏହିସବୁ ରେଳବାଇ ଫଟାକଗୁଡିକୁ ଯୋଡ଼ାଯିବ ଦ୍ୱାରା ଟ୍ରେନ ଏକ ସଠିକ ସ୍ଥାନରେ ଟ୍ରେନ ପହଁଚିଲେ ଫାଟକ ଆପେଆପେ ବନ୍ଦ ହେବ I ଯେ ପର୍ଯ୍ୟନ୍ତ ଫାଟକ ଖୋଲାରହିଥିବ, ସେତେବେଳେ ଏହି ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀ ଟ୍ରେନକୁ ଆଗକୁ ଯିବାକୁ ସଂକେତ ଦେବନାହିଁ I

ଯାତ୍ରୀ ଓ ସଡକ ସୁରକ୍ଷାକୁ ଦୃଷ୍ଟିରେ ରଖି ପୂର୍ବତଟ ରେଳପଥ ଇତିମଧ୍ୟରେ ଏହାର ପରିସୀମା ମଧ୍ୟରୁ ସମସ୍ତ ଜାଗୁଆଳିବିହୀନ ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକକୁ ବନ୍ଦ କରି ବିକଳ୍ପ ବ୍ୟବସ୍ଥା ପ୍ରଦାନ କରିଛି I  ପୂର୍ବତଟ ରେଳପଥର ସମୁଦାୟ ୭୩୯ ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକ ମଧ୍ୟରୁ ଷ୍ଟେସନ ମଧ୍ୟବର୍ତ୍ତୀ ଅଂଚଳରେ ୫୩୮ଟି  ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକ ଅଛି I  ଏବେ ପର୍ଯ୍ୟନ୍ତ ପୂର୍ବତଟ ରେଳପଥ ସମୁଦାୟ ୪୧୨ଟି ଫାଟକଠାରେ ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ପ୍ରଣାଳୀ ଯୋଗାଇଥିବା ବେଳେ ଷ୍ଟେସନ ମଧ୍ୟବର୍ତ୍ତୀ ଅଂଚଳରେ ୨୧୩ଟି ଫାଟକଠାରେ ଏହି ସୁବିଧା ପ୍ରଦାନ କରିଛି ତନ୍ମଧ୍ୟରୁ ଚଳିତ ଆର୍ଥିକ ବର୍ଷରେ ୩୪ଟି ରେ ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ବ୍ୟବସ୍ଥା ସହିତ ଯୋଡାଯାଇ ଅଛି I

ପୂର୍ବତଟ ରେଳପଥର ସମସ୍ତ ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକ ମଧ୍ୟରୁ ଷ୍ଟେସନ ମଧ୍ୟବର୍ତ୍ତୀ ଅଂଚଳରେ ୯୭ଟି ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକଠାରେ ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ବ୍ୟବସ୍ଥା ଯୋଡାଯାଇ ଅଛି ଯେଉଁଠାରେ  ପ୍ରତି ଟ୍ରେନ ପିଛା ଯାନବାହାନ ଏକକ ଗଣନା ୫୦ ହଜାର ଅଟେ I  ଚଳିତ ଆର୍ଥିକ ବର୍ଷର ୯ ମାସ ମଧ୍ୟରେ ତଥା ୨୦୧୮ ମସିହା ଡିସେମ୍ବର ମାସ ମଧ୍ୟରେ ପୂର୍ବ ତଟ ରେଳପଥ ପ୍ରତି ଟ୍ରେନ ପିଛା ଯାନବାହାନ ଏକକ ଗଣନା ୫୦ ହଜାରଥିବା ୧୦ଟି ଜଗୁଆଳିଥିବା ରେଳବାଇ ଫାଟକକୁ ସାଙ୍କେତିକ ବ୍ୟବସ୍ଥା ସହିତ ଯୋଡି ପାରିଛି I

SER’s Adityapur-Kharagpur 3rd Railway line to speed up trains, freight

KOLKATA: Punctuality of passenger trains running in Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway is all set to improve in the coming days, thanks to the new third-line project and the latest initiative to introduce convoy system for freight trains.

Following the removal of encroachments by the railways and the state government at Krishnanagar near Tatanagar station in November, decks have been cleared for the ambitious railway project, a major portion of which is expected to be completed by 2019. Work has already gained pace after the removal of the squatters.

The 132km third-line project was sanctioned in 2015-16 at an estimated cost of Rs 1,312 crore. Out of the total stretch, 77km falls in Jharkhand and the rest 55km in Bengal. The project includes construction of 18 major and 157 minor bridges connecting as many as 16 stations.

Spokesperson of Chakradharpur railway division Bhaskar said, “The third-line project will not only enhance the line capacity for ensuring faster movement of passenger and freight trains, but will also help in improving punctuality of trains on the Howrah-Mumbai main line.”

He said the project would also help in economic development of the region.

Apart from the 50-odd pairs of mail/express trains, the Adityapur-Kharagpur section through which the third line will pass also sees the movement of numerous goods trains carrying raw materials and finished products for several entities, including Tata Steel and its subsidiary units.

On the convoy system of running freight trains, Bhaskar said it would be done as and when required.

“It is felt that there is a huge potential for increasing freight movement by introduction of freight convoy system wherein a time will be allotted for running only goods train in that particular section. It will be done when the traffic of passenger train is less. This would also help in improving the revenue earning of the division,” he said.

Korukkupet-Tiruvottiyur fourth rail line work gets underway

Work gets underway for the fourth rail line between Korukkupet and Tiruvottiyur railway stations, an important link in Chennai rail network.

CHENNAI: The fourth rail line between Korukkupet and Tiruvottiyur railway stations, an important link in Chennai rail network, is about to be commissioned even as work is going on in full speed.

There will be a line/power block for carrying out final works for the project starting on Thursday and ending on December 30, says a press release from Southern Railway.

RK Kulshrestha, General Manager, Southern Railway, accompanied by principal heads of departments, including S Anantharaman, Chief Operations Manager and Prafulla Varma, Chief Engineer/Construction, inspected the ongoing works in the section between Korukkupet and Tiruvottiyur today.

151 Kms Manoharabad-Kothapalli Railway line to be ready by March 2019

For several years, the people of these districts have long been aspiring for a rail line between Hyderabad – Karimnagar (Manoharabad-Kothapalli).

SECUNDERABAD: In major boost to rail transportation in city along with Siddipet, Medak, Siricilla and Karimnagar, the works on Manoharabad – Kothapalli (151 km) railway line are progressing at a brisk pace.

Already 90 per cent of land for this phase-I stretch has been acquired by the State government and handed over to the railways for taking up the work. Accordingly, earth work including cutting and embankment and construction of minor bridges are set to be completed by March, 2019.  Earthwork, embankment and construction of minor bridges in the sections of Manoharabad-Gajwel (32 km), which is the first phase of the rail link till Kothapalli, are in progress and set to be completed by March next year with 90% of land already acquired by the government and handed over, informed South Central Railway.

Senior officials informed that people of Medchal, Siddipet, Medak, Siricilla and Karimnagar districts would get connected by rail once this Hyderabad-Karimnagar link (Manoharabad in Medak district-Kothapalli in Karimnagar district) is completed in all respects.

The project has been sanctioned for a distance of 151.40 km at an estimated cost of ₹1,160 crore with ₹350 crore allocated last year and ₹125 crore this year with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal giving it priority. The new rail line passes through important towns such as Vemulawada (Dakshina Kaashi), Sircilla, Siddipet and Gajwel benefiting over 50 lakh population.

The other phases are: Gajwel-Duddeda (32.15 km), Duddeda-Sircilla (48.65 km) and Sircilla-Kothapalli (38.60 km). Around 160 bridges, seven road over-bridges, 49 road under-bridges and 13 new railway stations (eight crossing stations and five halts) are to come up.

New railway stations will come up at Nacharam, Iranagaram (halt), Gajwel, Kodakandla (halt), Lakhadaram, Duddeda, Siddipet, Gurralagondi (halt), Chinnalingapur, Siricilla, Vemulawada, Boinapally and Wedira (halt), said SCR officials.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the new railway line connecting in August 2016 and the project is also being monitored during PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) meetings, which is a multi-purpose and multi-modal platform.

While efforts are on to complete all the phases at the earliest, officials point out that once done, it would be beneficial for lakhs of pilgrims travelling to Vemulawada to seek blessings of Lord Shiva, handloom weavers of Siddipet and business community of Gajwel as it would bring in a new standard in travel convenience besides offering employment opportunities.

What makes this new line crucial is that the entire belt comprising of several important towns including pilgrim centres will be seeing the dawn of a new era in terms of rail connectivity and will bring in a new standard in travel convenience.

Ahmedabad to host “IR Track Standards Committee Seminar” between 10-12 January, 2019

AHMEDABAD/MUMBAI: The 82nd Meeting of Track Standards Committee is being held at Ahmedabad from 10th January, 2019 to 12th January, 2019. Western Railway is the official host of the seminar this time, and it is learnt that all the top policy makers, planning, projects, civil engineering officials from the Indian Railways, Railway Board, RDSO, IRICEN, IPWE, All Zonal Railway PCEs, All CAO/Constructions apart from various industry like SAIL, Bhilai Steel Plant, Jindal Steel etc. are attending the Seminar.

Indian Railways is the life-line of nation providing transportation facility over the length and breadth of country. It’s vision is to provide efficient, affordable, customer-focused, environmentally sustainable integrated transportation solutions and to be the vehicle of inclusive growth, connecting regions, communities, ports and centers of industry, commerce, tourism and pilgrimage across the country.

Civil Engineering infrastructure is the largest static infrastructure of Indian Railways comprising of track, bridges, land, etc. Management of this huge infrastructure has to be done in accordance with the organization’s vision. Civil engineering department of Indian Railways manages and maintains all these infrastructures. Further, it has key role in the area of infrastructure development, technological leap in various fields, high speed travel and development of world class stations.

The seminar will extensively deal with the Policy Changes that are required in the operational functioning of Indian Railways in the Civil Engineering perspective, covering the entire Railway lines infrastructure, gauge conversions, doubling, tripling, quadrupling of railway tracks, and bridges, ROBs/RUBs, level crossings, land management and the use of latest technologies like LiDAR (Light Detection and Reflection) in proper Asset Management of Railway system for achieving greater operational efficiency and maintain uptime Railway working.

IR has 1,30,950 bridges, out of which 670 are important, 10,798 are major and 1,19,400 are minor bridges. Indian Railways had rehabilitated/rebuilt various bridges including distressed bridges etc over the past 8 years now. Apart from the above, to improve the safety and reduce inconvenience to road users, busy level crossings are replaced extensively by Road Over/Under Bridges (ROBs/RUBs) gradually. The works of ROBs/RUBs in lieu of busy level crossings are sanctioned on cost sharing basis with the concerned State Governments/Local Authorities. There are numerous ROBs/RUBs works at various stages of planning and execution either directly or on on cost sharing basis, deposit terms, Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis and under NHDP.  IR owns about 4.31 lakh hectares of land, which is mainly used for locating operational and services infrastructure such as track, stations, workshops, staff colonies, etc.

The seminar will extensively review the various items of Railway working, standards of track maintenance in the light of increased speeds of train operations, threshold values for load testing of in service rails, anomalies in IRPWM & LWR manuals, clips with higher toe loads being used on Indian Railways, experience of tamping based on TM-115, digital axle counters, OMS equipments, Gauge at toe of points & crossing, SEJs for curves upto 4 degree, review of accident proforma, LWR/CWR over ballasted deck bridges, 26m rails on major and important bridges, various design modifications, machine maintenance and latest technologies on tracks, review of rail stress calculation methodologies, criteria for re-alignment of curves, corrosion of rails, fractures, use of longer sleepers, maintenance of channel sleepers, Standard deviation based track maintenance standards for 130Kmph to 160Kmph and spot values for 140Kmph to 160 Kmph, improvement of track machines, Reduction in thickness of end post of glued joints, Issues pertaining to improvement in A.T welding, review of Yardstick for USFD testing, Discrepancies in IRPWM & USFD Manuals, Maintenance of thick web switches, Maintenance of Spring Setting Device etc and various other latest technologies for Track and various Assets Management.

Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, assumes charge as Chairman, Railway Board

SECUNDERABAD: Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) assumed charge as Chairman, Railway Board (Ministry of Railways) and ex-officio Principal Secretary to Govt. of India today i.e., 1st January, 2019 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad, before leaving for New Delhi.

Interacting with Media personnel who were present on the occasion at Secunderabad, the new Chairman Railway Board stated that Indian Railways is on course to achieve the vision of Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister for a New India – New Railways. Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of Railways has identified focus areas and is working on mission mode for making Indian Railways, world class. In the last 4 ½ years, great impetus has been given to rail development and the same will continue, the Chairman Railway Board added.

Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, stated that Safety is the foremost priority for Indian Railways towards which, track renewal, maintenance and replacements of tracks is being undertaken at a fast pace. Passenger amenities also are on the priority list and Indian Railways will strive to provide best facilities to rail users, he added. Speaking on the thrust given towards Infrastructure development, the Chairman Railway Board stated that priority will be accorded to the High Speed Bullet Train Project, Semi High-Speed Corridors and Dedicated Freight Corridors, works concerning new railway lines, doubling and tripling of Railway lines etc. The Chairman, Railway Board said that, employees are the backbone for the organization. All efforts shall be made towards their wellbeing by providing facilities at workplace and upgrading their skills by imparting them training at regular intervals.

Later, the Chairman Railway Board, Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav addressed Principal Heads of Departments and the Divisional Railway Managers of SCR’s Six Divisions viz., Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntur, Guntakal and Nanded through a video conference at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad.

Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav called upon the SCR Officials to hold a positive mindset, believe in themselves and focus on teamwork to achieve success. He stated that the Indian Railways is progressing well and in the last 4 ½ years, lot of developmental works were undertaken and completed. This initiative will continue to drive the organizational priorities of Indian Railways in the times ahead, he added. Indian Railways is growing in strength to become a World Class Railway. The Chairman Railway Board wanted South Central Railway to continue with its excellent performance in various spheres.

CMI Ltd bags Rs.107 Crore wire supply contract from East Coast Railway

The company is engaged in manufacturing cables for various industries such as railways, oil and gas, telecommunications, energy, industrial, power, petrochemicals, etc.

NEW DELHI: Cable manufacturer CMI Ltd on January 1 said it has bagged a Rs 107-crore contract from Indian Railways for supply of cadmium catenary wire.

“CMI has secured L1 (lowest bidder) position for supply of cadmium catenary wire to East Coast Railway for a value of Rs 106.64 crore. The tender was decided through a reverse auction process,” the Delhi-based company said in a filing to BSE.

The company is engaged in manufacturing cables for various industries such as railways, oil and gas, telecommunications, energy, industrial, power, petrochemicals, etc.

According to the company, its list of customers include Indian Railways, various metro corporations, IOC, BPCL, GAIL, ISRO, BHEL, NTPC, BSNL, Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, among others.

Shares of the company on January 1 closed 3.03 percent up at Rs 180.45 apiece on BSE.

The company has been on a growth trajectory over the past few years, With its tag line “Cables That Empower “and with continuous focus on developing specialty products in the past years, the Company has served several elite clients in the infrastructure, solar, cement, power, oil & gas, telecom and Railways & Metro.

CMI is a leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution from power cables to telecommunication cables including electric cables for Railways, Metros, Utility, Buildings, Data Transmission, Instrumentation, Submarine Cables, Control, Special cables and Extra High Voltage cables for market segments namely Railways, Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Energy, Industrial, Communication and Special Applications.

CMI offers products conforming to various specifications, including but not limited to IS, IEC, IEEE, VDE, and other international standards covering entire range of cable products. CMI has best- in- class research and development, testing and production facilities. The development of unique compounds designed and tested to meet specific needs and stringent specifications, differentiates CMI make Cable from all others. It is our inherent quality of constantly evaluating ourselves and implementing new measures that fortifies our strength. Due to this dynamism in thought and action, we have built a robust business model and we are continuously strengthening our growth capabilities and deepening our growth appetite.

Need foolproof method to improve toilet system in trains: CAG tells Railways

The committee also observed that at various railway stations and railway toilets, a particular type of pungent disinfectant is used, causing discomfort to the passengers.

NEW DELHI: After the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), a parliamentary panel has now taken note of the problem of stinking and choked bio-toilets in trains and sought measures for their improvement.

The Railway Convention Committee (RCC), in its latest report on December 31, has in particular sought a foolproof mechanism for the effective use and management of the bacteria meant to be used in the bio-toilets that are replacing earlier “hole-in-the-floor” toilets in trains in a phased manner.

The 18-member parliamentary panel noted that the bacteria inoculum required for use in the bio-toilets to decompose human waste is currently being generated by the Railways at its in-house plant in Moti Bagh, Nagpur, and is also procured from DRDO, Gwalior. This is said to be sufficient to cover the requirements of the national transporter.

However, the committee detected a major problem with the bacteria inoculum — it’s short expiry date. Once it is opened, it has to be utilised within two days, and the Railways is apparently not able to do so, rendering it ineffective. It has sought a foolproof mechanism for the effective use and management of the bacteria meant to be used in bio-toilets.

Responding to the committee’s observation, the Railways said corrective measures have been introduced and cross-checking of bio-toilets has been intensified.

The RCC, headed by Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, has observed that though retro-fitment of bio-toilets is a laudable and environment-friendly exercise, these toilets are beset with problems such as choking, foul smell and overflow of human discharge.

Incidentally, the CAG, in a report in December 2017, had found that almost two lakh complaints regarding choking, smelly and non-functional bio-toilets in trains were received from the public in 2016-2017.

The RCC observed that human waste collected in bio tanks is “biodigested” by the anaerobic bacteria already filled in the bio-tank, which converts the human waste mainly into water and bio-gases. While gases escape into the atmosphere, the water is discharged after treatment.

The committee recommended that given the potential hazards involved in the discharge of waste water, the Railways should take steps for its safe disposal at designated locations without causing pollution.

The committee also observed that at various railway stations and railway toilets, a particular type of pungent disinfectant is used, causing discomfort to the passengers.

The Railways informed the RCC that, earlier, a phenylic-type disinfectant was used which had a peculiar smell. Now all zones have been advised to procure deodorising-cum-disinfecting fluid for use in railway offices, hospitals, stations, coach depots and trains.

The panel has suggested that all zones and divisions should start procuring the new deodorising-cum-disinfecting fluid without any delay and replace the old disinfectant at the earliest.

Regarding coach cleaning complaints, the committee has sought a quicker response time to redress complaints.

Taking note of third party audit-cum-surveys for assessment of cleanliness at 407 major stations in 2016-17, the committee is of the view that more stations should be covered as these measures put pressure on the staff and officers of all the stations to make their premises neat and clean and also lead to healthy competition among various stations.

The RCC has also taken note that the various cleaning facilities provided by the Railways are confined to few select stations. The committee has said the facilities should be extended to all stations and coaches in a time-bound manner.

The Mahtab-led committee also urged the Railways to conduct passenger awareness campaigns on cleanliness at frequent intervals so as to inculcate a culture of cleanliness among them.

The committee also emphasised the importance of enlisting the cooperation of local governments by the Railways in maintenance of cleanliness, prevention of encroachment and trespassing in the station surroundings and also for solid waste management.

Survey for another Bridge over Brahmaputra near Silghat nearing completion

MALIGAON: Shri Rajen Gohain, Minister of State of Railways today said that survey for construction of a new bridge over river Brahmaputra near Silghat is nearing completion and once the survey is complete it can be considered for inclusion in the Budget. The Minister was speaking in the ceremonial function for flagging off of a new train from Silghat (Assam) to Kolkata signalling transformation of the middle Assam areas through improved communication.

Shri Keshab Mahanta, Minister of Water Resources, Govt of Assam was also among the dignitaries present at the function. Senior Railway Officers including Shri Nilesh Kishore Prasad, General Manager (Construction), N.F. Railway, Shri Ram Bahadur Rai, Divisional Railway Manager of Lumding Division were also present at the glittering ceremony attended by large number of enthusiastic people of nearby areas. Shri Gohain has said that the introduction of this new train is another step towards transformation through transportation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The new train consists of 19 new State-of-the-Art LHB coaches having modern amenities and facilities for passengers. The new weekly express train is expected to be greatly beneficial for improving the trade and commerce of the middle Assam areas apart from improving the communication with rest of the country. Tourist travelling to visit Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary would also to be benefited as the train will have stoppages at Amoni and Jakhalabandha.

In his speech Shri Rajen Gohain listed the achievements of post 2014 period. He has also said that a Delhi bound train and a south bound train will also be considered for introduction from Silghat soon. He announced an award of Rs 2 lakh for the division for excellent work of readying facilities like watering of trains etc within record time.

Regular service of the train will start from Kolkata w.e.f 07.01.2018 and from Silghat w.e.f. 08.01.2018. Train number 13182 Silghat – Kolkata Express will leave from Silghat at 12-30 hrs every Tuesday to reach Kolkata at 12-50 hrs next day. During return journey train number 13181 Kolkata – Silghat Express will leave from Kolkata at 09-05 hrs on Monday to reach Silghat at 09-55 hrs on Tuesday. The train will have stoppages at Jakhalabandha, Amoni, Nowgong, Senchoa, Chaparmukh, Jagiroad, Guwahati, Kamakhya, Goalpara Town, New Bongaigaon, Fakiragram, New Alipurduar, New Coochbehar, New Jalpaiguri, Malda Town, Rampurhat, Bolpur and Barddhaman during its journey on both ways. The train will have one AC 2 tier, four AC 3 tier, eight sleeper class and four general second class coaches apart from two luggage cum generator vans.

Open to more PPP projects to boost Indian Railways infrastructure: Vinod Kumar Yadav, New Railway Board Chairman

“Infrastructure development has seen a threefold jump with the increase in new lines, doubling, tripling and electrification in the last few years and will be open for more public private partnership (PPP) projects across the zones,” he said.

SECUNDERABAD: Passenger safety, capital and developmental works and infrastructure management will continue to form the cornerstone for Indian Railways, said Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager of South Central Railway (SCR), who has taken charge as Chairman, Railway Board, and ex-officio Principal Secretary to the Central government on superannuation of Ashwani Lohani.

Assuming charge on Monday from Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad, Yadav said focus on safety, speed increase, passenger amenities and infrastructural development will be high on priority across all zones for Indian Railways. “Infrastructure development has seen a threefold jump with the increase in new lines, doubling, tripling and electrification in the last few years and will be open for more public private partnership (PPP) projects across the zones,” he said.

“In the last four-and-half years, the vision of the government was to provide rail safety which is the ultimate priority followed by better passenger amenities and infrastructure management,’” he said.

The four-pronged strategy adopted by the government is to fast-track completion of last-mile connectivity projects, increase the pace of construction of new railway lines, undertake doubling, tripling, quadrupling of the existing saturated rail routes and provide seamless connectivity with complete electrification of rail lines.

“As safety is the foremost priority, track renewal, maintenance and replacements of tracks is being undertaken at a faster pace. Besides, high speed bullet train project, semi high-speed corridors and Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), works concerning new railway lines, doubling and tripling of railway lines, etc would also be the on the focus agenda,” he added.

Indian Railways is undergoing a transformational overhaul for improving all system. According to an estimate, Indian Railways will save around Rs 13,000 crore per annum in fuel bill and reduce carbon emission by 3.4 million tonnes a year, if the entire rail network in the country stands electrified. Electrification, coupled with increased use of solar power, is bound to keep the railways on course.

Electrification of railway lines can be one major potential area for reducing expenditure of the national transporter. The interesting fact is, while around two-thirds of freight and over half of passenger traffic of Indian Railways are carried on the electric traction, the energy expenses due to electricity consumption remain at 37%, which signify the cost effectiveness of electrification for Indian Railways.

In fact, a plan to electrify around 13,000 route km of railway lines at a cost of Rs 12,134.50 crore has already been approved by the Cabinet and target completion of electrification of the entire Indian railway network by 2021-22.

The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), which is tasked with the completion of electrification of rail tracks over Indian Railways, has been undertaking the job with renewed momentum in the last few years.

SCR zone has taken to electrification of its network on a priority basis. At present, out of the total length of 5,992 route km of its network, 3,250 route km stand electrified, which is sizeably over 50%.