Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Nirmala Sitharaman Proposes Public-Private Partnership For Railways

Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman today proposed public-private partnerships in Railways to build more tracks and increase connectivity across the country.

Indian Railways, the largest rail network in the world, has been owned by the government since its inception by the British in 1853.

Over the last years, following huge losses, the government has initiated several efforts to reverse the tide.

Last year, railways minister Piyush Goyal, who is handling the portfolio in the second term of the Narendra Modi government, said his focus was to increase the capacity of railways though enhanced signalling and adding more lines, along with cost-cutting in the loss-making passenger sector.

The railways’ revenue comes from the freight section, but much of it is lost in subsidies in the passenger sector.

In the run-up to the budget, the opposition alleged that the government big initiative for privatisation will begin with the railways.

An editorial in the CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy suggested that the Niti Aayog has announced that 46 public sector enterprises will be sold off or shut down as per a 100 day action plan. According to an action plan proposed by the Railway Ministry, private passenger trains will be operated within 100 days, the editorial said.

On Tuesday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi opposed a railway ministry proposal in the Lok Sabha to corporatise its production units, including the Modern Coach Factory in her Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli, alleging that it was the “first step” towards the privatisation of railways.

Raising the issue in Zero Hour in parliament, she accused the government of selling the country’s assets to private players at throwaway prices.

“Those who don’t understand the real meaning of corporatisation…. It is actually the first step towards privatisation. They are selling the country’s assets to a handful of private players at a throwaway price. This will leave thousands unemployed,” she said.

4 Trains Cancelled, 1 Diverted In Pune After Prediction Of Heavy Rain

After the weather department predicted very heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday in Maharashtra, the central railway cancelled four intercity express/passenger trains and diverted the route of one train.

“Central Railway has decided to cancel the following intercity express/passenger trains due to IMD forecast of very heavy rains on 29.6.2019 and 30.6.2019 and to have sufficient headway en route due to heavy rains,” read an official press note from Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Pune Railway.

Trains that have been cancelled include Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express, Mumbai-Pune Sinhagad Express, Bhusaval-Mumbai Passenger train and Pune-Panvel Passenger train.

Train route for Bhusaval-Pune Express is now re-scheduled via Daund-Manmad, said PRO of Pune Railway.

“Passengers are requested to kindly note and bear with the Railway Administration for the inconvenience caused,” read an official statement.

According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai city received 127 mm rainfall, western suburbs received 170 mm rainfall and eastern suburbs received 197mm rainfall, in the last 24 hours.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) Mumbai said very active monsoon conditions are prevalent over the west coast, with deep westerlies, and heavy rainfall expected in Mumbai, Thane and other areas around the west coast.

Budget 2019: Railway Announcements You Need To Know After Merger Of Rail, Union Budget

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil the Budget 2019-20 on July 5. In September 2016, the government scrapped the 92-year-old practice of presenting rail budgets and general budgets separately. And in 2017, Arun Jaitley became the first finance minister to present a combined Union Budget with Rail Budget as part of it. This year’s Budget – the first full budget by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government after returning to power in May- will also include announcements for the Railways. (Also read: 10 Things To Know About First Budget Of Independent India)

Here are some key announcements made for Railways in Interim Budget 2019, Budget 2018 and Budget 2017:

Interim Budget 2019

1. Railways saw an allocation of Rs. 64,587 crore and capital expenditure of Rs. 1.58 lakh in Interim Budget 2019.

2. The capital support from the Budget for the railways was proposed at Rs. 64,587 crore in 2019-20.

3. In the budget, funds worth Rs. 7,255 crore were allocated for construction of new lines, Rs.2,200 crore for gauge conversion, Rs. 700 crore for track doubling, Rs. 6,114.82 crore for rolling stock and Rs. 1,750 crore for signalling and telecom.

Budget 2018

1. Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a capital expenditure of Rs. 1.48 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in his Budget 2018 speech.

2. He also proposed a target of doubling 18,000 km of lines.

3. 36,000 km of rail track renewal were targeted while 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes were targeted to be eliminated in the next two years.

4. 600 stations were earmarked for modernisation by the Indian Railways.

Budget 2017

1. For financial year 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of Railways were pegged at Rs. 1,31,000 crore.

2. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh creation was announced with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years.

3. It was proposed that 500 stations will be made differently-abled-friendly by providing lifts and escalators.

4. It was also proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the medium term.

5. ‘Coach Mitra’, a single-window interface to register all coach-related complaints and requirements was also announced.

Dollar trims gains as trade optimism fades, Aussie near recent lows post RBA cut

The dollar gave up gains on Tuesday as investors curbed earlier enthusiasm about U.S.-China trade progress while the Australian currency barely budged from recent lows after a central bank rate cut decision offered few clues about future easing.

The yuan also shed its early rise to trade lower on the day after U.S. President Donald Trump said any deal with China would need to be somewhat tilted in favor of the United States, suggesting negotiations may not proceed smoothly.

The U.S. dollar index against a basket of six major currencies earlier rose to its highest in a week but retreated as doubt set in about the resumption of U.S.-China efforts to resolve their trade war.

Market focus now shifts to Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe, who speaks to business leaders in the northern Australian city of Darwin at 0930 GMT, which could provide clues on how much further interest rates could fall.

“The tone from the RBA was not that pessimistic, which gives the impression they are somewhat reluctant to cut rates further,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“Short positions in the Aussie were already so heavy. Now we’re in a situation where the main risk is for the Aussie to be bought back.”

The Australian dollar was up 0.3% at $0.6983 on Tuesday after slumping 0.9% on Monday, its biggest decline since April 24.

The RBA lowered interest rates by 25 basis points to a record low of 1.00%, matching economists’ expectations. In a statement the central said it would lower rates again “if needed,” a phrase some analysts took to mean an additional rate cut is less certain than before.

The U.S. dollar index was little changed at 96.790 on Tuesday having posted its biggest increase since March 7 on Monday on hopes Beijing and Washington were making headway in their trade negotiations.

The United States and China have already imposed tariffs of up to 25% on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in a dispute about China’s trade practices that has lasted nearly a year.

The drawn out trade war has slowed global growth and pushed many central banks to cut interest rates to support their economies.

The offshore yuan gave up early gains to trade around 0.2% lower at 6.8690 versus the dollar, on course for its biggest daily decline in a week.

The global investor spotlight will move to U.S. non-farm payrolls data due on Friday, which economists expect to have risen by 160,000 in June, compared with a 75,000 increase in May.

However, analysts expect the dollar will struggle to make substantial gains given expectations the Federal Reserve will cut rates due to low inflation and worries about the U.S.-China trade war.

“It would be a mistake to view the rise in the dollar on Monday as the beginning of a broad-based rally,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“Treasury yields are capped around 2%, because there are still expectations for Fed rate cuts.”

The euro briefly fell to an eight-day low of $1.1275 before trading little changed at $1.1289. The common currency fell 0.7% on Monday, its biggest-one day decline since March as disappointing economic data triggered a tumble in bond yields and boosted expectations for a European Central Bank rate cut.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Book Railways’ Train Tickets Online (Through IRCTC)

indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the online ticketing arm of the Indian Railways, offers a train ticket booking facility for individuals travelling on an urgent basis. Known as Tatkal ticket booking scheme, travellers can reserve or book train tickets at 10:00 am for air-conditioned (AC) classes and at 11:00 am for non-AC classes under this facility, a day before the actual date of journey, Indian Railways noted on its website Tatkal train tickets can be booked online from the IRCTC’s website or from any railway reservation centres. Railway ticketing agents and the web agents of IRCTC are restricted from booking Tatkal tickets during the 10:00 am and 12:00 pm every day, IRCTC added.

IRCTC Tatkal Ticket Booking: Below are the charges levied by Indian Railways for booking Tatkal train tickets:

Class of Travel Minimum Tatkal Charges (in Rs.) Maximum Tatkal Charges (in Rs.) Minimum Distance for charge(in Km)
Reserve Second sitting (2S) 10.00 15.00 100
Sleeper 100.00 200.00 500
AC Chair Car 125.00 225.00 250
AC 3 Tier 300.00 400.00 500
AC 2 Tier 400.00 500.00 500
Executive 400.00 500.00 250

Here are the rules for booking Indian Railways Tatkal train ticket:

Tatkal train tickets issued by Indian Railways are for travel between actual distance of travel and not on an end-to-end basis, Indian Railways said on its website.

Apart from normal express trains, Tatkal ticket booking facility is also available in executive class of Shatabadi Express trains, by earmarking 10 per cent of the accommodation available that is 5 seats per coach, Indian Railways said.

No refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal ticket. However, full refund of fare and Tatkal charges are granted on the tickets booked under Tatkal scheme if the train is delayed by more than three hours at the journey originating point of the passenger and not at the boarding point if the passenger’s journey originating point and boarding point are different.

Maximum of four passengers can be booked on one PNR for Tatkal tickets unlike six passengers under the normal train ticket.

Facility of change of name is permitted on the bookings made under Tatkal scheme.