4 March 2015


Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his maiden Rail Budget proposed a number of new services to provide more passenger amenities. The minister said Railways will spendRs. 12,500 crore on providing more amenities to passengers from 2015-19.

Railways will soon introduce a system through which people can check latest berth availability on running trains.

Integrated ticketing system on the lines of rail-cum-road tickets on Jammu- Srinagar route will be expanded.

IT Initiative

SMS alert service to be introduced for train arrivals and departures. The SMS service will inform passengers in advance the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations.

Wi-Fi to be available at 400 railway stations


The e-catering service will be expanded to more trains to provide freedom for passengers to select their meals from an array of choices. Food can be ordered through the IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets.

Water vending machines will be installed in more stations to ensure availability of clean drinking water at very low cost.

On-Board Entertainment System

On-board entertainment system will be introduced on select Shatabdi trains. Later, it will be extended to all Shatabdis, depending on the response.

Mobile phone charging facilities would be provided in general class coaches and the number of charging facilities would be increased in sleeper class coaches.

Air-Conditioned Suburban Service

Air-conditioned EMU service will be introduced on the Mumbai suburban sections.

Helplines and Safety

Toll free number 182 created for security-related complaint.

An all-India 24X7 helpline number, 138, will attend to the problems of passengers on a real time basis. Passengers will be able to call up for complaints while on trains. It will be functional soon.

Surveillance cameras to be introduced in select trains and suburban trains for women safety.

Reduction in Travel Time

The speed of 9 railway corridors will be increased from the existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight.

Railways plans to introduce modern train system called train sets to providing better riding experience and about 20 per cent savings in journey time. These new trains will be similar to bullet trains in design and can run on existing tracks. The first set of these trains would be introduced within the next two years.


Railways will accelerate the shift to the use of bio-toilets in coaches. So far we 17,388 bio toilets have been installed and this year another 17,000 toilets is planned to be put in place.

The facility of online booking of disposable bedrolls at select stations is being extended to all passengers through the IRCTC portal on payment basis.

Train Capacity Increase

More berths will be made available through increase in number of coaches to meet the growing demand for seats. Further, capacity in select trains will be augmented to run with 26 coaches from the existing 24 coaches.

Station Services

The facility of self-operated lockers would also gradually be made available at stations. IRCTC also plans to provide concierge services at major stations for the assistance of passengers for their pick-up and drop.

Facts About Indian Rail Budget 2015:

1. No increase in railway passenger fares. A welcome move because reduce in oil price will autoamtically increase Railway’s profit.
2. No new trains announced in this Rail Budget.
3. An All India 24-7 helpline number 138 will become operational. Hope this facility will start soon, a much needed one. Toll free number 182 for Security complaints.
4. A mobile application to address complaints of people is also being developed. Will be easier for passengers to complain without any fear.
5. Operation 5 minutes to ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within 5 minutes.
6. SMS alert services for passengers to inform them about arrival and departure of trains.
7. Modern facilities for disabled citizens, senior citizens, patients through IRCTC. Basic facilities which is missing till now, but should be added soon.
8. In 400 stations wi-fi facility will be provided. Guess it will take time and won’t effect mass railway passengers.
9. Four Railway Research Centre in Selected Cities. Time will tell what benefits we will get from here.
10. Train Collision Avoidance System will be installed in High traffic rail lines. Another promise which should have been in place by now but hoping that this will happen soon.
11. CCTV Camera to be installed in Women Compartments. Added security features but need to be implemented soon.
12. Delhi Mumbai and Delhi Kolkata Journey to be covered over night.
13. Ticket Booking window will be extended to 120 days from 60 days. That’s a long window, may help reducing black marketing further.
14. High Speed Rail Between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
15. Speed of 9 Rail Corridors to be increased to 160-200 KM/Hour.
16. 6581 Crore sanctioned for Rail Saftey. It will be interesting to see how and when these money will be invested.
17. Mobile phone charging facilities in general class. A good and important move, why discriminate passengers of different coaches.
18. 917 safety work projects to eliminate over 3,000 unmanned crossings in all states.

19. 17000 more toilets to be replaced by bio-toilets.

Here are 25 key highlights:
1. Rs 8.56 lakh crore investment plan for the period 2015-2019
2. To increase daily passenger carrying capacity from 21 million to 30 million in 5 years
3. Increase track length by 20% to 1,38,000 kms over next 5 years
4. To increase freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tones in 5 years
5. Plant proposed to convert waste to energy
6. 17,000 toilets in coaches to be replaced by bio-toilets
7. All-India 24/7 helpline number 138 to be launched
8. Toll free number 182 to be launched for women and safety issues
9. “Operation 5 minutes” and hot button for purchase of universal tickets
10. Online booking of retiring rooms and wheelchairs on select stations
11. Rs 120 crore to equip major stations with lifts and escalators
12. Allotment for passenger amenities raised by 67%
13. Open bids for station development
14. 84% rise in capital allotment to develop 1200 kms at Rs 8686 crore
15. Evaluation studies undertaken for bullet trains
16. Innovation council called Kayakalp to promote technology development and manufacturing
17. Railway research centres to be set up in select universities
18. Introduction of bar coded/RFID for tracking of parcels and freight wagons
19. Upgradation of equipment for examination of tracks
20. To tap insurance and pension funds and also multi-lateral and bi-lateral funds
21. Development of unmanned audio and visual warning system at unmanned crossings with ISRO
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22. Special training in soft skills for frontline staff
23. To set up full-fledged university in 2015-16
24. Setting up environment directorate for focus on environment management
25. 1,000 MW solar plant with the help of MNRE


Union Budget 2015-16 is presented by Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley in the Parliament today. We are bringing you the highlights and key announcements of Budget 2015-16.
Union Budget 2015-16: Highlights & Key Announcements:

·         The objective of this Budget is to improve quality of life and to pass benefits to common man.
·         Indian Govt has 3 major achievements: Jan Dhan Yojana, Coal Auction and Swacch Bharat programme
·         Incremental change is not going to take us anywhere, will need to think in terms of quantum jump
·         Under Swacch Bharat Yojana, 50 lakh toilet already built, 6 crore toilet targeted
·         Government will encourage new start ups and entrepreneurship
·         Government is still firm on achieving fiscal deficit target of 3 % of GDP eventually
·         Real GDP expected to accelerate to 7.4%
·         Current FOREX reserves $340 bn, Second best stock market in Asian economy
·         Govt will utilize vast postal network for increasing access to institutional banking
·         Roadmap to achieve Fiscal deficit of 3% of GDP in three years: Target is 3.9% in 2015-16, 3.5% in 2016-17, 3% in 2017-18.
·         National Insurance scheme called PM Suraksha Bhima Yojana, offering coverage of 2 lakh rupees for just premium of Rs.12 per year. [WOW!]
·         Rs. 5300 crore allocated for micro irrigation
·         Target of 8.5 lakh crores credit to be given to farmers in 2015-16
·         Target of 8.5 lakh crore of credit for agricultural sector
·         Unclaimed deposits of Rs 3,000 crore in PPF and Rs 6000 crore in EPF; to create senior citizens welfare fund from this corpus
·         Atal Pension Yojana to provide defined pension according to contribution ; 50% contribution to be from Govt.
·         Increased Budgetary allocation to Roads & Railways
·         5 Ultra Mega power projects, of 4000 MW announced
·         Initial sum of Rs 150 Cr to create world class IT hub to take advantage of our competitiveness
·         Start-ups: mechanism for techno-financial incubation for start ups; govt sets aside Rs 1000 crore
·         National Infrastructure Fund will try to leverage Infrastructure companies ; Tax free bonds for Roads , Railways & irrigation
·         Renewable energy target will be increased to 1,75,000 MW
·         Highest ever allocation for MGNREGA, by increasing it this year by 5,000 crore rupees
·         Ports in public sector will be encouraged to corporatize & become companies under companies act
·         EPF & ESI has hostage rather than client ; ESI should be made optional to employees
·         GST will be put in place state of art internationally indirect tax system by April 1st 2016: FM
·         An addition of 1,000 crores for Nirbhaya Fund
·         Govt proposes to increase visa-on-arrival to 150 countries to increase tourism
·         Initial outlay of Rs 75 crore for development of electric vehicles
·         For better regulation a merger of FMC & SEBI is being currently worked out
·         National Skill Mission to be launched through skill development and entrepreneurship ministry, to develop employability of youth, especially below 25 years of age
·         Section 6 of FEMA to be amended
·         Committee to be set up to plan the celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya
·         Propose to set-up an IT based student financial aid system under PM Vidya Laxmi scheme
·         The new Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Programme will ensure no student misses out on higher education opportunities due to lack of funds
·         Govt announces AIIMS institutions in J& K , Punjab , Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
·         ISM Dhanbad will be upgraded to full IIT
·         Government is pursuing policy of #MakeInIndia in defense not only to cater our needs but also for export
·         Defense budget has been enhanced to 2,46,727 crore rupees, an approx. increase of Rs. 25,000 crore
·         Unplanned expenditure for 2015-16 is estimated at 13 lakh 12 thousand and 200 crores
·         Budget Estimates of Expenditure: Rs. 17 .77 lakh crore of which Non Planned is Rs. 13.12 lakh crore and Plan is 4.65 lakh crores
·         Direct Tax collection is going to be 14.49 lakh crore rupees
·         Basic rate of Corporate Tax to be reduced from 30% to 25% in next 4 years and will be accompanied by reducing exemptions.
·         Exemptions to individual tax payers will remain
·         Non-filing of returns, or filing of returns with inadequate information may attract 10 year Jail term. Even concealment of income will be prosecutable with rigorous imprisonment
·         Government to enact a comprehensive law on black money stashed abroad
·         Benami property transaction bill will be introduced to tackle black money transaction in real estate soon
·         Quoting of PAN is mandatory for any purchase made more than Rs. 1 Lakh.
·         Defer the applicability of GAAR for 2 years ; will only apply prospectively after Apr 2017.
·         Reduced Royalty fees on Technical Services to 10% from 25%.
·         Wealth Tax Abolished, instead super rich will pay extra 2% extra surcharge for people with income over 1 Crore. This will lead to additional 9,000 cr to Tax kitty.
·         Custom duty on raw materials and intermediaries to be reduced
·         Excise duty on Leather footwear reduced to 6%
·         Fuel excise duty will remain unchanged; change in tobacco excise duty.
·         Consolidated Service Tax increased from 12.36% to 14%!
·         Increased in deduction for Health insurance from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 25000. For senior citizens increased to 30,000.
·         Additional deduction of Rs 50,000 for contribution to pension fund and new pension scheme
·         Tax exemption for transport allowance increased from Rs 800 to Rs 1600 per month.
·         Individual tax payer will benefit to the extent Rs.4,44,200/- from the exemptions announced
·         Direct tax proposals will lead to 8315 cr loss and an increase of Rs. 23,000 cr in indirect tax gains.
·         To support agricultural sector, propose to allocate 25000 crore in 2015 to rural development fund.
·         Employees contribution to the EPF should be optional, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
·         Number of Social Security Schemes launched in the Union Budget 2015:
·         Work towards creating a social security system for all Indians.
MUDRA bank with corpus of 20000 cr
‘PM MUDRA Yojana’ – to prioritize SC, ST and OBC.
We will launch the ‘Atal Pension Yojana’.
Atal Pension Yojana will provide a defined pension to the people, which will start at the age of 60.
Propose a new scheme of providing physical aids for senior citizens living below poverty line.
Propose the ‘Nayi Manzil’ scheme for the youth minorities.
·         Finance Minister proposes setting up IIT in Karnataka; IIMs in J&K and Andhra Pradesh; AIIMS in J&K, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
·         Govt to raise visa-on-arrival facilities to 150 countries from 43.
·         Govt to introduce Indian gold coin with Ashoka sign on it.
·         Proposes 5 ultra mega power projects for 4,000 MW each.
·         Investment in infrastructure to go up by Rs 70,000 crores
·         Corporate tax reduced from 30% to 25% over next four years.
·         The budget allocation for the Defence Sector for the year 2015-16 is 246727 crore, increased from Rs 2 lakh crore.
·         Quoting PAN made mandatory for any sale exceeding Rs 1 lakh.
·          Benami Property Transaction Bill to tackle Black money transaction in Real Estate.
·          Arun Jaitley replaces wealth tax with additional 2% surcharge on super rich with annual income of over 1 crore rupees.
·         Taxes on Technical Services reduced to 10% from 25%
·         The excise duty on footwear having retail price of more than 1000 per pair has been reduced by 6 per cent.
·         Transport allowance given to all taxpayers, limit increased from Rs 800 to Rs 1600 per month.
·         Health insurance premium exemption raised to Rs 25,000 from Rs 15,000.
·          Direct tax proposals will lead to loss of Rs.8,315 cr; Indirect proposal will yield Rs.23,383 cr;
·         Individual tax payer will benefit to the extent Rs.4,44,200/- from the exemptions announced
·         Yoga included in the ambit of charitable purposes under the Income Tax Act.
·         Rs 150 core to create world class IT hub in India
·          FM proposes to increase service tax rate and education cess to 14% from 12.36%.
·          Net gain from tax proposals seen at 150.68 billion rupees in 2015-16.
·         No change in Income Tax Slabs in Union Budget 2015.
·      Black money: 6 months for voluntary disclosure?

·      Yoga included in the ambit of charitable purposes under the Income Tax Act.
·      Individual tax payer will benefit to the extent Rs 4,44,200 from the exemptions announced.
·      Govt to reduce custom duty on 22 items.
·      Quoting PAN a must for all purchases above Rs 1 lakh.
·      Corporate tax reduced from 30% to 25% over next four years
·      Are you satisfied with the Budget? Write in your reactions here
·      Defence allocation for this fiscal is Rs 2,46,727 crore.
·      AIIMS to be set up in J&K, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
·      Govt to raise visa-on-arrival facilities to 150 countries from 43
·      Govt to introduce Indian gold coin with Ashoka sign on it.
·      Proposes 5 ultra mega power projects for 4,000 MW each: FM
·      Investment in infrastructure to go up by Rs 70,000 crores: Jaitley
·      We are committed to subsidy rationalisation based on cutting leakages: Jaitley
·      States get 62% of the total resources now: Arun Jaitley
·      GST to be put in place by April 1, 2016: FM
·      Will finish the journey to 3% fiscal deficit in two years: FM
·      With all humility I submit that this opportunity has risen because we have created it: FM
·      Cabinet meet on, Jaitley answers queries by ministries before Budget presentation
·      Finance minister Arun Jaitley reaches Parliament.
·      Spread the JAM so fruits of subsidy reach the needy
·      Congress: Make in India should find focus in the Union Budget.
·      Sensex rises more than 200 points in opening trade.
·      India in 'sweet spot', poised for double-digit growth: Survey
·      There will be no change in the personal income tax slabs and rate of tax for companies in respect of income earned in the finance year 2015-16, assessable in Assessment Year 2016-17.
·       An additional 2% surcharge is proposed on individuals, HUFs, AOPs, BOIs, artificial juridical persons, firms, cooperative societies and local authorities having income exceeding Rs.1 crore. This will take the total surcharge to 12%.
·      Education cess on income tax @ 2 per cent to continue
·      Health Insurance premium deduction limit has been raised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.For senior citizens the limit will stand increased to Rs 30,000 from the existing Rs 20,000. The deduction limit of Rs.60,000 towards expenditure on account of specified diseases of serious nature is proposed to be enhanced to Rs.80,000 in case of very senior citizens.
·      The limit on deduction on account of contribution to a Pension Fund and the New Pension Scheme has increased from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.5 lakh.
·      Transport allowance exemption is being increased from Rs.800 to Rs.1,600 per month. Total exemption per annum will now stand at Rs 19200.
·      Employee Provident Fund has been made optional. Firstly, the employee may opt for EPF or the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Secondly, for employees below a certain threshold of monthly income, contribution to EPF should be optional, without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution.
·      Gold will be made a monetizable property. A Gold Monetisation Scheme is proposed that will replace both the present Gold Deposit and Gold metal Loan programs. The new scheme will allow the depositors of gold to earn interest in their metal accounts and jewellers to obtain loans in their metal account. Banks and other dealers would also be able to monetize this gold. An alternate financial asset - Sovereign Gold Bond to be developed as an alternative to purchasing metal gold. The Bonds will carry a fixed rate of interest, and also be redeemable in case in terms of the face value of the gold, at the time of redemption by the holder of the Bond.
·      Air travel, amusement and theme park tickets, music concert tickets, cigarettes and other tobacco products, imported commercial vehicles, cement, aerated flavoured drinks, packaged water, liquor, chit funds and lotteries will become more expensive.
·       Leather footwear, locally made mobile phones, LED/LCD panels, LED lights and LED Lamps, solar water heaters, pacemakers, ambulance and ambulance services, computer tablets, agarbattis, microwave ovens, refrigerator compressors, peanut butter, packaged fruits and vegetables and museum, zoo and national park tickets will become cheaper.