The Rail Budget to be Presented by Prabhu Today
The rail budget to be presented by Prabhu on Thursday may include a slew of measures to ensure quality travel including expansion of e-catering to all important stations beyond the 42 already covered and in more trains. Provisions for bar-coded tickets and travel insurance for passengers are also likely to be announced. In the past few years, the railways has focused on improving passenger amenities including the range of branded food through e-catering. The minister is likely to rationalize freight tariff along with an announcement to introduce high-speed parcel trains, long-term contracts and roll on-roll off container services to stem decline in traffic and improve earnings. Suresh Prabhu may announce measures to generate revenue through non-tariff sources such as advertising and commercialization of surplus land in the railway budget on Thursday. Prabhu may resist from announcing any hike in passenger fares even as the transporter is under acute financial stress. He may, however, raise resources by charging for premium facilities.