New Delhi | The government has allocated more than Rs 3,000 crore for rail passenger amenities in the 2019-2020 Budget, an around 200 per cent rise from the last fiscal.
The allocation for rail passenger comfort this fiscal has gone up to Rs 3,422.57 crore from Rs 1,657 crore in the Budget presented last year by then finance minister Arun Jaitley. In the 2017-2018 financial year, the budgetary allocation for railway passenger amenities was Rs 1,100.90 crore.
Indication of the sharp rise was given in the interim Budget where the allocation for passenger amenities jumped by 50 per cent from the amount allocated in 2018-2019.
To improve the quality of travel and services, the government will build world-class modern train sets, including more ‘Train 18s’ and ‘Train 20’ which are the next level of such train sets and consists of sleeper coaches. It is expected to be rolled out in 2020.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said his aim is to produce 100 such train sets, which will replace the Shatabdi and Rajdhani express trains in the near future.
Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has also been taken up which will improve passenger amenities at stations and turn them into world-class facilities with Wi-Fi, drinking water facilities, upgraded waiting rooms, television sets, passenger information kiosks and other such facilities.
Railways will also launch a massive programme of station modernisation to make train travel pleasant and satisfying for the common citizens. It will also provide Wi-Fi at all stations excluding halt stations to improve train travel experience and bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban citizens.
Till now this facility has been provided at 1,603 stations and rest 4,882 stations are targeted for provision by August 31, 2019 under the ambitious 100-day programme of the government.
Railways has also planned to provide CCTV Surveillance System at all stations (excluding halt stations) and in trains by using state-of-the art video surveillance technology to enhance safety of passengers. CCTV surveillance system at 455 railway stations have been provided and rest of the stations are targeted by 2020-21.
Similarly, 1,203 coaches were equipped with CCTV surveillance system and rest passenger coaches are targeted by 2021-22.