Indian Railways News

GM/WR emphasize on Brighter and Progressive Future with Improved Services on the eve of Republic Day

The dawn of 69th Republic Day of our nation was marked on Western Railway with flag hoisting by Shri A K Gupta, General Manager, Western Railway. He also inspected the ceremonial parade at WR HQs Lawn at Churchgate and took salute of the March-past.

Shri Gupta said that Indian Railways is all set to attain new heights with the development of High Speed Corridors. Western Railway is proud that Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi & Hon’ble Prime Minister of Japan Shri Shinzo Abe laid foundation stone for India’s first High Speed Rail Project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in September, 2017 at Ahmedabad.

On this occasion, he also emphasised on moving towards a brighter and progressive future with emphasis on better and further improved services and convenience to the customers.    Fulfilling the aspirations of travelling public for a faster and convenient train between New Delhi, the Capital of India & Mumbai, the Commercial Capital, a dual locomotive hauled new Rajdhani Express has been introduced as a special train.

Shri Gupta said that, in keeping up with the tradition of being pioneer in many fields, Western Railway has achieved another milestone by introducing the first Air Conditioned EMU service on Mumbai Suburban Section recently. In yet another first, 25 state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition kiosks have been installed at five major suburban stations for easy printing of tickets, booked on UTS mobile app.Under ‘Project Swarn’, Mumbai -Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express has been given a brand new look with all refurbished coaches that are modern, aesthetic & equipped with more facilities. ‘Anubhuti’, an additional Executive class coach with aircraft like features has also been added to this train.

Shri Gupta said that with dedicated efforts, WR has been able to achieve a loading of about 58 million tonnes in this financial year up to December, 2017 which is 8.4 % more than the corresponding period of last year. The originating freight earning in this period has been approx. Rs.7576 crores which is 4.5% more than last year. Our total originating earning is approximately Rs.12054 crores which is 3.47 percent more than last year. We have been able to keep the Ordinary Working Expenses well under control so far this year. There has been a remarkable increase in loading of Cement, Food Grains, Iron & Steel besides Container traffic in the current year.

In keeping with ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Mission’, 1804 coaches have been fitted with Bio-toilets on our trains. Environment & Housekeeping Management (E&HM) ensures cleanliness, sanitation and general housekeeping. With addition of 54 more trains during the current year, 100 trains are now covered under ‘On Board House Keeping Services’ and 12 more are going to be covered shortly. All these trains are under Coach Mitra Scheme for immediate redressal of passengers’ complaints.

Shri Gupta also said that 12 new trains including 1 Mahamana, 1 Humsafar and 2 Antyodaya Express trains have been introduced  in this year, which include one Passenger and 11 Mail/Express trains. Destination of 9 trains has been extended. In order to cater to the increased number of passengers during peak season, we have run 2140 Holiday Specials and provided approximately 5 lakh additional berths by adding 6830 additional coaches in various trains on temporary/day-to-day basis in this financial year. All passenger trains with 24 coaches have been provided with 4500 HHP WDP4D locos to maintain sectional speed and improve punctuality. He added that in the new suburban Time Table, we introduced 32 new services from 1st October, 2017, taking the number of services per day from 1323 to 1355 including 54 15-car services after twelve services were converted from 12-car to 15-car services, thereby increasing their carrying capacity by 25%.

It has been our constant endeavor to provide more amenities to our rail users. We have commissioned 17 Lifts and 6 Escalators at various stations this year for the convenience of passengers, especially Divyangs and Senior Citizens. 43 more Escalators will be provided.            In order to fill up the gap between the requirement and the infra deficiencies, Western Railway has speeded up its infrastructure related works. Detailed action plan for improving amenities at stations is being implemented in phases. In view of safety & convenience of commuters, 5 FOBs have been commissioned at suburban stations in Mumbai in this financial year, while the work of 3 more FOBs has been completed and they will be opened soon for the commuters. The work for construction/ modification of 13 FOBs is under progress. Construction of 10 new FOBs and widening of 14 existing FOBs over suburban section of Western Railway has also been sanctioned on priority.

Shri Gupta said that with a view to provide quality food to our passengers, more than 4000 inspections were carried out by the teams of officers and supervisors at various mobile and static catering units during this year and Rs.82 lakh was imposed as fine on defaulting contractors.

He said that the country is moving towards realizing its vision for a cashless India. Western Railway on its part is contributing to achieve this goal. 888 Point-of-Sale (POS) machines have been installed at various PRS/UTS locations thus enabling 100 percent cashless transactions over 335 stations on Western Railway. The facility of booking railway tickets at ticket counters through Unified Payment Interface including BHIM application has been started as a payment option for PRS/UTS tickets on pilot basis.

Shri Gupta also emphasized on Safety. He said that duing the year, we eliminated 106 unmanned and 34 manned Level Crossings. 10 Level Crossings were interlocked, while sliding booms have been provided at 50 locations. State-of-the-art Electronic Interlocking has been provided at 13 stations. 11 Road Over Bridges and 55 Road Under Bridges have been constructed.

Shri Gupta was proud that WR has bagged 2 National Energy Conservation Awards instituted by the Ministry of Power in “Office & BPO Building” category for the Divisional Office Buildings of Rajkot & Bhavnagar. Out of 749 railway stations on Western Railway, 277 have already been provided with LED lights so far and the remaining stations will be provided by the end of this financial year. Solar Plants of 1077 kWp have been provided at various locations which will result in an estimated saving of Rs. 98 lakhs annually. We have been able to save Rs. 220 crore in our traction bills in first 8 months of this financial year by availing power through open access. In addition to this, a saving of Rs 48.21 crore has been achieved up to December, 2017 through regenerative braking in 3 phase EMU rakes.

In keeping with the tradition of achieving excellence in maintenance, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi and Pratapnagar Workshops have got the ISO 3834 certification for ‘Quality Requirement for Welding’, as well as all workshops over Western Railway have already been ISO 50001 certified for ‘Energy Management System’ and 5-S certified for an organized safe, clean & efficient work place.

Shri Gupta was also proud of our Railway Protection Force who work round the clock for the protection of railway property as well as security of passengers. In this financial year, 404 theft cases of passengers’ belongings were detected. RPF reunited 796 runaway children with their families’. Leftover belongings of passengers worth more than Rs.1.36 crore have been returned to them in 1066 cases. For effective, reliable and real time communication, ‘Eyewatch Railways’ mobile app was introduced for the safety of women commuters of Mumbai suburban between Churchgate-Virar. In another breakthrough, in order to keep an eye on hawkers in station premises, subways and foot over bridges, a ‘Hawkers Prevention Mobile App’ has been introduced in Mumbai suburban section. Picture of hawkers along with location and time is sent to Central Control for taking suitable action by RPF.

Western Railway has inducted 232 personnel of Maharashtra State Security Corporation and 97 ladies home-guards for strengthening the security and well being of passengers in its suburban section. With this, the overall strength of Western Railways’ security network has been increased by 32% and number of ladies security personnel over Western Railways’ suburban system has almost doubled.

Western Railway has once again established its supremacy in the arena of sports by winning prestigious Kaul Gold Cup for the 25th year in a row. Shri  K. Chinglesana and Shri Amit Rohidas were members of the Indian Team which won the 10th Men Asia Cup Hockey Championship held in Bangladesh. Ms Deep Grace Ekka, Ms Lilima Minz, Ms Namita Toppo and Ms Navneet Kaur were members of the  9th Women’s Hockey Asia Cup winning Indian team.

In the end Shri Gupta urged the railwaymen to gear up to make good the shortfalls and achieve the targets. He said that we have the tough challenge of completing all planned developmental projects and capacity enhancement works in time besides focusing on Safety and Passenger Amenities for our esteemed passengers. He was sure that all railwaymen would, as usual, rise to the occasion and strive harder with renewed zeal and dedication to attain the desired goals.

South Western Railway celebrates India’s 69th Republic Day

South Western Railway Headquarters celebrated the 69th Republic Day on 26th January, 2017, at the Railway Sports Ground, Club Road, Hubballi.    Shri A.K. Gupta, General Manager was the Chief Guest.  He unfurled the National Flag,   inspected the parade and received General Salute from the Parade.

In his address, Shri Gupta said that South Western Railway accords highest priority to Safety in train operations.

He said that South Western Railway will achieve highest ever track renewal of approximately 200 Km this year, he added.

Towards increasing train services, 10 new trains have been introduced this year and 6 trains extended. New Trains Introduced in 2017-18: 10 Trains:

1) 16575/16576 Mangaluru Jn – Yesvantpur – Triweekly Express
2) 06594/06593 Baiyyappanahalli – Whitefield – Baiyyappanahalli – Daily MEMU
3) 07325/07326 Hubli – Mysuru – Hubli Daily Express (via KSR Bengaluru)
4) 17323/17324 Hubli – Varanasi – Hubli Weekly Express
5) 22833/22834 Krishnarajapuram-Bhubaneswar-Krishnarajapuram Weekly       Humsafar Express

140 Suvidha Trains and 2088 Special Trains were run.  Also, 1753 Extra coaches attached to trains uptill December.  SWR carried 150 million passengers during the first 9 months of the year which is 2.2% more than last year.  The originating freight earnings during the first 9 months are Rs.2440 Crores.

Two land mark initiatives viz., signing of Long Term Tariff Contract and procurement of rake under Liberalized Wagon Investment Scheme have been taken place in South Western Railway this year with respect to one of main customers viz., M/s.JSW.

He stated that in SWR, doubling and electrification works have been sanctioned on all mainlines and are under execution in fast pace.  30 Km of new line between Bagalkot-Khajjdoni is ready for opening.  Electrification from Ramanagaram to Mysuru (94Km) has been completed this year.  Doubling of 31 Km has been completed so far.

“Swachch Rail, Swachch Bharat” has been adopted as a mantra on the Railway. Mechanized cleaning of coaches has been introduced in all 7 coaching depots of SWR.  Eco-friendly bio-toilets have been provided in about 900 coaches on the Railway.  As part of green initiatives, 665 Kwp roof top solar panels have been commissioned all over SWR including Rail Soudha this year.  Water harvesting plants have been commissioned at Rail Soudha, Mysuru and at many other stations.  Water recycling plant has been commissioned at Mysuru.  He proudly presented that both the workshops received IMS, ISO Certification and Gold Rating by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) under GreenCo – Green Company Rating System this year.

Continuing our efforts at improving passenger amenities, 3 escalators & 8 lifts have been commissioned during the year so far.  High speed Wi-fi has been provided at 8 stations.  Under Unique operation Nanhe Farishte, RPF have rescued more than 1000 children this year, living up to motto on South Western Railway “We care, we serve”, he added.

He complimented all the officers, supervisors and staff for their commitment and hard work and exalted them to continue to work in same spirit and renewed vigour.

For the first time in the history of this Zone, tableaus were displayed on the occasion by Engineering, Safety, Mechanical & Personnel Departments and South Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organization (SWRWWO) School and Railway English Medium School.  The tableau of Engineering department was the main attraction, depicting Push trolley Inspection of Railway track and Ultrasonic flaw detection test of results & key man at work.

After the address of Chief Guest, a colourful cultural programme was performed by railway employees. Bharat Guides displayed Band Music. Later, Group Dance was performed by the Children of Railway School, South Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation School and Bharath Scouts & Guides. Patriotic songs were sung by railway employees.

GM, South Western Railways has launched  “SWR-Railkarmi” App which has link for all 7(Seven) units – Hubli division, Bangalore division, Mysore division, Hubli workshop, Mysore workshop and construction unit . Staff can access their SRs, APARs and salary details.

On the occasion, Shri A.K. Gupta, General Manager distributed cash awards to the staff, scouts & Guides and performers of the cultural programme.  Railway Officers and staff in large number participated in the Celebrations along with their family members.

Shri B.B. Singh, Additional General Manager; Shri Ishwar Rao, Chief Security Commissioner; Shri S.K.Albela, Chief Personnel Officer; Shri P.A. Lamghare, Chief Mechanical Engineer; Shri G.J.Prasad, Chief Operations Manager; Shri K. Siva Prasad, Chief Commercial Manager; Shri U.S.S.Yadav Principal Chief Engineer; Smt. E.Vijaya, Chief Public Relations Officer & Deputy General Manager and other officers and staff attended the function.

Full Text of General Manager/SWR’s 69th Republic Day Message-2018 at Hubballi

Dear Officers and staff of South Western Railway, their family members, President & Members of Executive Committee of South Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organization, representatives of recognized Union and Associations, Members of the security force and representatives of Press & Media.

On the occasion of celebration of 69th Republic Day of our nation, I convey my warmest greetings to you all along with millions of our valued customers.

The country in general and Indian Railway in particular is going through various stages of transformation.  There have been major changes on the IT front including Aadhar based identification of citizens, new GST bill and other initiatives.  In Indian Railway also a new result oriented approach is the order of the day with the empowerment of officers and supervisors at various levels as part of transformation drive.  It is a challenge and opportunity to rise to the occasion by improving the delivery under the able leadership of our new Chairman Railway Board and the new Rail Minister.

There is also a new approach to safety.  Maintenance of assets, vital infrastructure like track and rolling stock has to be kept in good fettle.  Proper inputs have to be given to improve the health of the assets and laid down standard followed.  With this aim in mind, unlimited funds are being made available for safety related works.

South Western Railway accords highest priority to Safety in train operations.  Safety consciousness of our frontline staff is most important in safe running of trains.  Safety drives & Safety Campaigns are being conducted by Headquarters & Divisional Safety teams regularly on identified focused areas to emphasize importance of adherence to safety norms.  I appeal to staff of South Western Railway to continue to be vigilant and safety minded on duty.

In this direction, highest priority is being given to track renewals & these works are being taken up in a planned manner, even by regulating trains. We are confident of achieving highest ever track renewal of approximately 200 Km this year.  We have to put in best efforts for optimizing output of track machines and progress of track works simultaneously along with punctual running of trains.

Towards increasing train services, 5 new trains have been introduced this year and trains extended. 140 Suvidha Trains and 2088 Special Trains were run.  Also, 1753 Extra coaches attached to trains uptill December.  SWR carried 150 million passengers during the first 9 months of the year which is 2.2% more than last year.  The originating freight earnings during the first 9 months are Rs.2440 Crores.

The freight loading during first 9 months of this financial year is 32 Million Tonnes.  We have to work with renewed vigour to increase the loading on the Railway as done in the past every year.

Two land mark initiatives viz., signing of Long Term Tariff Contract and procurement of rake under Liberallized Wagon Investment Scheme have been taken place this year with respect to one of our main customers viz., M/s.JSW.  I am sure these initiatives will go a long way in boosting our freight traffic further.

Indian Railways is undertaking infrastructure development with massive investment for all round economic growth. In SWR too, doubling and electrification works have been sanctioned on all mainlines and are under fast track execution.  30 Km of new line between Bagalkot-Khajjdoni is ready for opening.  Electrification from Ramanagaram to Mysuru (94Km) has been completed this year.  Doubling of 31 Km has been completed so far.

“Swachch Rail, Swachch Bharat” has been adopted as a mantra on the Railway. Mechanized cleaning of coaches has been introduced in all 7 coaching depots of SWR.  Eco-friendly bio-toilets have been provided in about 900 coaches on the Railway.  As part of green initiatives, 665 Kwp roof top solar panels have been commissioned all over SWR including Rail Soudha this year.  Water harvesting plants have been commissioned at Rail Soudha, Mysuru and at many other stations.  Water recycling plant has been commissioned at Mysuru.  I am happy to inform our both workshops received IMS, ISO Certification and Gold Rating by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) under GreenCo – Green Company Rating System this year.

Continuing our efforts at improving passenger amenities, 8 escalators & 3 lifts have been commissioned during the year so far.  High speed Wi-fi has been provided at 8 stations.  We are utilizing social media effectively for dissemination of information.  Under Unique operation Nanhe Farishte, our RPF have rescued more than 1000 children this year, living up to our motto “We care, we serve”

On the Sports front, this year SWR organized Inter-Railway Cross Country 10 Km Championship at Goa in Dec 2017.  Sri Pardesh, an employee of Bengaluru Division won the bronze medal.

The Scouts & Guides and Civil Defence staff of SWR actively involved in various awareness campaigns on unmanned level crossings and Swachh Bharat.  Cubs & Bulbuls Utsav was organized in Dec.2017 at Mysuru.

One of the biggest strength of SWR is its diligent and dedicated workforce.  Digitization of service records in Hubballi Division & “Rail Karmi” App developed by Bengaluru division are steps in this direction.  I am happy to say that from December onwards Hubballi Division is able to credit retirement benefits for employees within one month of superannuation.

Project Saksham has been launched to improve skills & competency of staff for performing their work.  SWR was the first on IR to launch training under this project.  Staff employed by contractors at construction work sites & OBHS are also being trained in order to improve their performance and better safety orientation as well as service to passengers.

All these achievements have been possible only with positive support of recognized trade unions and other associations of South Western Railway. I thank them for their co-operation and maintaining harmonious industrial relations.

We appreciate the continuous contribution of South Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organization (SWRWWO) in the service of Railway men and their families and thank them whole heartedly for the same.

I take this opportunity to compliment all the officers, supervisors and staff for their commitment and hard work and exalt them to continue to work in same spirit and renewed vigour.

On this auspicious day, let us resolve to face the challenges and conquer new mile stones in the path of development of the nation.

Delta Electronics deploys brightest Laser Video Wall at the Operations Control Centre of Lucknow Metro MRTS

 Delta, a leading provider of video wall solutions, has provided its brightest Laser Video wall solution to the Operations Control Centre of Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation. Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is a project of Govt. of U.P., which is implemented to strengthen the transport infrastructure of the city with a holistic multi-modal transport system. Delta, with its expertise in display solutions, installed its latest and brightest solution in the market for this project.

Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) is the fastest built high speed rapid transit system project in India. Lucknow Metro is a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) constructed to provide the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh with an environment-friendly atmosphere, having two routes, from North to South and East to West. The North-South corridor starts at Amausi and ends at Munshi Pulia, with a total length of 22.878 kilometres. The East-West corridor starts at Charbagh Railway Station and ends at Vasant Kunj with a total length of 11 kilometres. Both lines intersect at Charbagh.

The new Lucknow Metro Operations Control Centre (OCC) features India’s 1st Laser video wall composed of 5×2 70’’ Video wall Cubes. With unmatched brightness, Delta’s Laser Video walls have Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, excellent standards in brightness uniformity (≥ 98%), wide viewing angle and true redundancy to match the Lucknow Metro requirement. In addition, a controller is set up in the room, capable of handling multiple inputs and Cube control software which provides precise information on the status of the video wall at any point of time.

The Operations Control Centre (OCC) is responsible for a smooth command and control of all stations and trains. The video wall will display dynamic status of each train, route and signal on a real-time basis and the status of the power supply on each section of the line. Faults in the supply, if any, will be noticed immediately through the Video wall and can be acted upon by the LMRC operators,” commented an LMRC official.

Delta, with a strong global reference base in the Railway Industry, recommended its latest and most innovative display solution for monitoring operations at the OCC of Lucknow Metro. The operations of the fastest built metro project will be monitored round the clock on Delta’s Video walls in support of train services and maintenance activities.

Every day, the operators of the Operations Control Centre of Lucknow Metro will ensure the safety of millions of passengers by constantly monitoring train speed, signals, station activities and power supply. With the help of Delta’s display solutions we are assured that the security of passengers will improve and operators will promptly respond to emergencies, if any,” commented the LMRC official.

About LMRC

Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC), incorporated on 25.11.2013 under the Companies Act, 1956, is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to implement the Lucknow Metro Rail Project. The certificate of commencement of business was issued on 24.12.2013. This Company will jointly be owned by GoI and GoUP. The authorized capital of the Company is Rs 2000 Cr.

About Delta

Delta, founded in 1971, is a global leader in power and thermal management solutions and a major player in several product segments such as industrial automation, displays, and networking. Its mission statement, “To provide innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow,” focuses on addressing key environmental issues such as global climate change. As an energy-saving solutions provider with core competencies in power electronics and innovative research and development, Delta’s business domains include Power Electronics, Automation, and Infrastructure. Delta has 163 sales offices, 64 R&D centres and 39 manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Throughout its history, Delta has received many global awards and recognition for its business achievements, innovative technologies and dedication to corporate social responsibility. Since 2011, Delta has been selected as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability™ World Index (DJSI World) for 7 consecutive years. In 2017, Delta was selected by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for its Climate Change Leadership Level for the 2nd consecutive year.

For detailed information about Delta, please visit: www.deltaww.com

About Delta Displays

Delta Displays, a division of Delta, is a pioneer in developing professional displays for control rooms in surveillance, security, traffic, command & control, utilities, process control, telecom and broadcast applications. Delta offers a wide array of display technologies including: rear projection DLP® video walls with Laser and Next-Gen LED technology, Xtra thin-bezel LCD video walls, and high-resolution indoor/outdoor LED displays with a powerful & highly flexible Wall management Software suite.

More information about Delta Displays can be found at www.deltadisplays.com

 

Railway Cybersecurity Firm Cylus emerges from Stealth, obtains $4.7 Million Funding

Cylus, an Israel-based startup that specializes in cybersecurity solutions for the rail industry, emerged from stealth mode on Thursday with $4.7 million in seed funding. Investors include Zohar Zisapel, a private investor and Founder of RAD, as well as Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures and the SBI Group.

Researchers have warned on several occasions in the past years that modern railway systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and the rail industry has been targeted by both cyber criminals and state-sponsored cyber-spies.

Cylus is a pioneer in protecting railway and metro systems from a growing number of cyber-threats. Founded in 2017 by veterans (Amir Levintal, Boaz Zafrir, Gal Shmueli, Miki Shifman and Zohar) of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Corps’ elite technological intelligence and security units, is comprised of a team of world-class cyber specialists and rail industry experts have tailored a military-grade solution to the industry’s unique requirements. Their robust technology enables rail companies to detect cyber-attacks in their operational network – including their signaling systems and trains – and block attackers before they can cause any damage. Cylus is based in the heart of Tel Aviv.

“Current approaches to cybersecurity do not fit the architecture of railway networks today,” said Cylus CEO Amir Levintal. “Our team of world-class cyber specialists together with rail industry experts have tailored a solution to the industry’s unique requirements. Our solution enables rail companies to detect cyber-attacks in their operational network, including their signaling systems and rolling stocks, and block attackers before they can cause any damage. The automotive industry has woken up to the critical need for cyber protection– it’s time the railway industry got on board as well,” Cylus CEO Amir Levintal said.

“We are continuing to invest in startups in the cyber industry,” said Yoram Oron, Founder and Managing Partner of Vertex Venture Capital and Chairman of Cylus. “Recently, there has been an increase in the scope and intensity of cyber-attacks that cause actual physical harm. We believe that Cylus’ experienced team of security specialists and entrepreneurs and its strategic approach will provide a unique response to growing cyber-threats around the world.”

Cylus provides cybersecurity solutions for railways and metros. As railways adopt more automated, wireless and connected technologies, their most safety-critical assets have become exposed to new and more dangerous types of cyber-attacks. These attacks can threaten passenger safety, disrupt service, and cause severe economic damage. Legacy components and communication protocols throughout the railway industry were never designed with cybersecurity in mind and are in critical need of the kind of network protection Cylus provides. In the U.S. and Europe alone, there are hundreds of millions of train and metro passengers every day. This calls for the need for a more robust network security has never been more critical.

“Railway companies cannot compromise on passenger safety, and one of the pillars of passenger safety is cybersecurity,” said Boaz Zafrir, President of Cylus and former CEO of Israel Railways. “Railway executives are acutely aware of the dangers and are looking for answers. The extraordinary team at Cylus has rich experience creating effective cybersecurity solutions, and I am confident that the company’s unique technology will help keep passengers safe all over the world.

Feasibility Panel did not find Vizag Railway Zone viable: Union Minister

At a time when the delay in the Centre’ decision of granting a special Railway Zone to Andhra Pradesh with Vizag as its headquarters remains the hot topic of political mudslinging, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary on Thursday said that the feasibility study panel did not find the project a viable one. The minister, on the sidelines of a development programme here, said,” The committee appointed by the Indian Railways to examine the feasibility of special zone project has submitted the report and it has found that the proposal is not a viable one.”

However, he quickly added that the ruling TDP government was leaving no stone unturned to get the project sanctioned. The Indian Railways set up a three-member committee to study the possibilities for a special railway zone and the panel conducted a comprehensive study by taking several factors into consideration, including operational feasibility, financial aspects, infrastructure availability and others.

The special railway zone was promised to Andhra Pradesh after the State bifurcation and it was included in the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014. Even three and a half years have passed, the Centre is yet to announce its decision.

Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, during his visit to Waltair Railway Division last month, also did not sound positive on the demand for the special railway zone. “There are already many small railway zones and the Ministry of Railways has to take a final call on the issue,” he said. The sources in the Railways said that technically, the proposed zone was not possible. “It can happen only if the Centre gives it a nod bypassing the feasibility report,” sources said.

Border Security Officer Arrested In Kerala With 45 Lakhs. CBI Says Bribes

A senior officer of the Border Security Force, or BSF, on his way home from the Indo-Bangladesh border has been caught with cash to the tune of 45 lakhs in Kerala. The Central Bureau of Investigation team that arrested the officer when he got off a train at the Alleppey railway station in Kerala said he had saved the money from the bribes collected from cross-border smugglers.

Jibu D Mathew was a commandant with the BSF, the paramilitary force that is entrusted with guarding the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. He had been detained yesterday but was formally placed under arrest early today morning.

The officer commanded one of the 82 battalions – each has an average strength of about 1,000 jawans – that are deployed along the 4,093 km-long border with Bangladesh. The battalion that Mr Mathew led was entrusted with the border around Berhampur in West Bengal.

BSF officials posted at the international borders have been accused of connivance in the past too but this is a rare occasion where such a senior officer has been arrested.

According to the case registered by the CBI, the anti-corruption probe agency had received a tip-off that the officer, who was going home on leave, was carrying around 50 lakhs in his bag.

 The CBI also boarded the Shalimar Express train at Ernakulam station, some 60 km short of his destination, and caught hold of him as soon as he got off.

During his search in the presence of railway officials and the witness, the team found 18 bundles of currency notes of Rs. 2,000 denomination totalling 34.4 lakhs and 22 bundles of Rs. 500 notes amounting to around Rs. 10.8 lakh. The currency notes were concealed under clothes in the blue trolley bag, the CBI FIR alleged.

“On examining Jibu D Mathew about the source of the cash, it was found he got the money from smugglers operating at the India-Bangladesh border as illegal gratification for favours he extended to them”, according to the FIR.

Budget 2018: When, Where And How To Watch Live Streaming Online

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament on February 1, Thursday. Just like last year, railway budget will also be presented along with the union budget. This year’s budget session is crucial as it would be the first union budget to be presented under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. This will also be Narendra Modi government’s fifth and last full-fledged budget presentation before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Here’s where and when you can watch the Budget presentation:

Where To Watch Union Budget LIVE Streaming Online?

Viewers can watch the LIVE webcast of the Union Budget 2018-19, pre and post budget analysis on NDTV here: https://www.ndtv.com/video/live/channel/ndtv24x7

For LIVE Telecast, tune in to news channel NDTV 24X7.

When To Watch Union Budget?

 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Budget speech at 11 am in the Parliament.
 When will the Budget Session End?

The first phase of union budget session began on January 29 and will continue till February 9. The second session will be from March 5 to April 6. In between the two sessions, there will be a recess so that the budgetary proposals can be cleared by the standing committees.

Ahead of the budget presentation, the Economic Survey was tabled in both houses of the Parliament on Monday by Mr Jaitley. The Economic Survey said that India’s economy is “picking up quite nicely”, and will expand by 7-7.5 per cent in 2018-19 to again become the world’s fastest growing major economy. In an earlier interview, Mr Jaitley had made clear that agriculture sector will be the Budget 2018’s top priority. “Ensuring the benefits reach the agri-sector and growth is visible, this is among the priority areas for us,” Mr Jaitley had said.

Eyes will be set on Mr Jaitley’s briefcase and what comes out from it for Union Budget 2018-19.

Central Railways To Run 452 Special Trains To Clear Summer Vacation Rush

To clear the extra rush of long-distance passengers during the summer season, the Central Railway (CR) will run 452 summer special trains, a statement said.

These trains include unreserved specials from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CSMT) and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) to Gorakhpur, Manduadih, Jammu Tawi, Lucknow, Varansasi, Nagpur, Patna, Karmali, Chennai Central, Santragachi, Bilaspu, Kochuveli and Sawantwadi Road, the CR said in the statement issued here.

The CR will also run two teachers’ special trains between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Varanasi and all the summer special trains will have special fares, it said.

24 unreserved weekly special trains will be run between LTT to Gorakhpur from April 7, while the same number of unreserved weekly specials will be run between LTT to Manduadih from April 4. These unreserved trains will be of 18 general second class coaches.

The CR will also run 26 AC super fast weekly specials between CSMT to Jammu Tawi from April 6 and 24 AC super fast weekly specials between CSMT to Lucknow from April 10, 2018.

16 weekly special trains will be operated between LTT to Gorakhpur from April 10 and two teachers special train will be run from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Varanasi from May 5.

The CR will also run 20 super fast weekly special trains between CSMT and Nagpur from April 7 and 22 unreserved weekly Specials between Pune and Gorakhpur from April 8.

In addition to this, 22 unreserved weekly specials will be run between Pune and Manduadih from April 5 and 34 weekly specials will be operated between Pune and Patna from April 9.

20 AC weekly Specials will be run between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Karmali from April 6, while 18 weekly special trains will be run between Ajni and Karmali from April 9.

The CR will also run 18 weekly special trains between LTT to Sawantwadi Road from April 9 and 22 weekly special trains between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Sainagar Shirdi from April 4, besides 20 weekly special will be run between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Mangalore Junction from April 8.

Budget 2018: India Inc Puts Forth Expectations

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Union Budget for financial year 2018-19 on February 1, Thursday. Just like last year, railway budget will also be presented along with the union budget. Speculations are rife in the industry and so are expectations before Mr Jaitley presents Modi government’s fifth and last budget before the Lok Sabha polls 2019. Ahead of the budget presentation, the Economic Survey was tabled in both houses of the Parliament on Monday by Mr Jaitley. The Economic Survey said that India’s economy is “picking up quite nicely”, and will expand by 7-7.5 per cent in 2018-19 to again become the world’s fastest growing major economy. Here’s what India Inc hopes Union Budget 2018-19 should have:

Cap GST Rates For Skill Training Services

Narendra Shyamsukha is Founder Chairman, ICA Edu Skills said, “We expect the Union Finance Minister to take measures which will facilitate giving market-relevant training to crores of youth in the country. One of the first things the government needs to do in this regard is cap the GST rate for all type of skill training, irrespective of whether they government funded/CSR funded/ Self or Employer funded, at 5 per cent. Alternatively it should provide for a refund mechanism for GST.”

Home Insurance A Crying Need

Roopam Asthana, CEO and Whole Time Director of Liberty Videocon General Insurance Co Ltd said that looking at the uncertain times today, “there’s a crying need to increase the penetration of home insurance in India. Besides the lack of awareness, there seems to be a cultural opposition to insure homes as we believe that “it will never happen to us”. This thinking needs to be changed and home owners need to be forced to get home insurance till it becomes an automatic part of buying/building homes in India.”

Srinivasan Gopalan, Group CEO, Ozone Group said, “The budget should work towards fulfilling the long-standing demand for the mechanism of single window clearance. This will ensure that all the permissions required for a project are sought from a single source. If the same gets executed, it has the potential to considerably decrease the overall cycle time of projects and developers will be able to concentrate on their main business of project implementation.”

Relax rules for angel investments

Harsh Dhand, Co-Founder and CEO, Rentsher said, “While institutional investment and foreign investment is exempt, the hard earned, tax paid money from Indian angel fraternity invested into seed stage startup, is subject to tax again. We need to seriously remove the same.”

Special benefits for senior citizens

Ishita Sengupta, Partner-Personal Tax at PwC India said, “Most senior citizens depend on income from bank deposits to a large extent for their monthly sustenance. With interest rates on savings continuously dropping, senior citizens are under considerable stress. Some sops for them, such as tax exemption for interest earned from fixed deposits and increased deduction for medical expenditure (including hospitalisation costs not covered under insurance) would give them the much needed relief.

Budget 2018 Should Focus On Digital Transactions

Rajashree Nambiar, CEO, India Infoline Finance Ltd said,”It would also be heartening to see an allocation towards digital awareness programs at a national scale. This will help educate millions of consumers and build the trust and confidence, for them to embrace banking and financial services of the modern day.”

In A First, Indian Railways Sends 100 Junior Workers For Leisure Trip Abroad

Indian Railways’ first non-working foreign tour is under way — not for senior officers but for gangmen, trackmen and other non-gazetted employees.

In a first for the national transporter, 100 non-gazetted workers of South Central Railway flew to Singapore and Malaysia for a six-day vacation on January 28, said a statement.

 While 25 per cent expenditure of the tour is being borne by the employees, 75 per cent is from the Staff Benefit Fund (SBF), M. Umashankar Kumar, SCR chief public relations officer, said in a statement.

“The 100-strong group of employees… comprised of Group C and D category employees, with preference given to employees from lower cadres and those nearing retirement. Allocation of number of slots for each Division, Workshop and Headquarters was given on the basis of their sanctioned strength,” he said.

Secunderabad-based South Central Railway has taken the lead in “optimising welfare activities for its non-gazetted workforce, by organising the first-of-its-kind Employees Overseas Camp on Indian Railways”, he said.

The itinerary covers tourist sites such as Universal Studios, Sentosa and Night Safari in Singapore and includes the Kuala Lumpur City Tour, Petronas Towers, Batu Caves and Genting Highlands in Malaysia.

 Staff Benefit Fund is allocated by Railway Board for various welfare activities of non-gazetted employees working in the national transporter.

They are usually used for scholarships for lower grade employees, to benefit the girl child, camps for children and other such socially relevant causes, an official said.

The South Central Railway had sent a proposal for the tour in December last year for its employees. Less than a month later, the group was on its way to foreign shores.