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Today (10:23PM)  Railway-linked stocks subdued after Prabhu's budget (www.mathrubhumi.com)
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Rail Budget

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Mumbai: Stocks of companies associated with the Indian railways plunged in the late afternoon trade session Thursday, even as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden budget to the Lok Sabha.
Stocks of companies like Texmaco Rail and Engineering, Container Corporation of India, Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers), Stone India, Titagarh Wagons, Kernex Microsystems and Cimmco were trading in the red.
However, stocks of Hind Rectifiers and Transformers and Rectifiers (India) made gains during the period.
At the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), shares of wagon-maker Texmaco Rail and Engineering were trading down 6.47 percent (1.20 p.m.) at Rs.130.20 from the previous close of Rs.139.20.
The scrip of Container Corporation of India slipped by 2.26 percent
at Rs.1,538 from the previous close of Rs.1,573.60.
Scrip of Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) decreased 6.89 percent at Rs.131.10, moving down from its previous close of Rs.140.80.
Scrip of another company associated with the railways, Stone India, was trading lower by 8.25 percent at Rs.77.85 from its previous day's close of Rs.84.85 per equity share.
Selling pressure was also observed in stocks of wagon manufacturer Titagarh Wagons. The company's scrip declined by 4.70 percent at Rs.552 from its previous close of Rs.579.20.
Kernex Microsystems's stocks fell by 0.11 percent at Rs.46.50 from its previous close of Rs.46.55 per equity share.
Shares of Cimmco were down 6.54 percent at Rs.71.50 from its previous close of Rs.76.50.
However, healthy gains were made by Transformers and Rectifiers (India) and Hind Rectifiers.
The scrip of Transformers and Rectifiers (India) at the BSE was up 0.80 percent at Rs.188 from its previous day's close of Rs.186.50 per equity share.
While, the stocks of Hind Rectifiers were up 1.73 percent at Rs.79.20 from the previous close of Rs.77.85.
Investor sentiments were subdues in the post-afternoon trade session Thursday, even as Railway Minister Prabhu outlined various proposals to bring the public transporters finances in order and usher in investments for sustained development.
Various proposals related to increase in investments, erecting new rail infrastructure, rationing of energy consumption and sprucing of passenger amenities were announced by the minister.
Indian Railways, which is one of the largest railroad networks in the world, is suffering from lack of investments and upgradation of infrastructure to cater to the ever growing demand of passenger and freight movements.
The minister has sought to correct the investment deficit position of the railways by proposing new initiatives for generating financial resources like tying-up with pension funds and other debt-related instruments.
The markets expect the budget to bring-in fiscal stability to the railways and fund inflows for modernisation, in line with the government's proposal for infrastructure development through the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
Today (10:21PM)  Railway Budget 2015: Mutli-lingual ticketing portal, SMS alerts, On-board entertainment (www.medianama.com)
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Rail Budget

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Today Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is presenting the NDA government’s first full Railway Budget. The Minister mentioned that the Railways Ministry received over 20,000 suggestions through social media and some of them have been incorporated into the budget.
The Indian Railways plan to introduce:
Unreserved tickets on smartphones: Indian Railways will enable booking of unreserved tickets on smartphones using debit cards.  
Consumer complaint facility: Pan-India consumer helpline to be introduced from March 1, 2015. Passengers can call 138 for any queries. For security complaints, Passengers can call 182 (toll-free number).
E-catering service: E-catering
service to be introduced on 108 trains, and meals can be booked online through the IRCTC portal. The Minister mentioned that for this Indian Railways is partnering with a number of well-known food delivery services, though he didn’t reveal any specific names.
SMS alert service: Passengers will receive SMS alerts for train timimgs, including expected arrival times, delays, etc.
Multi-lingual e-ticketing portal: The Minister mentioned that a multi-lingual e-ticketing portal will be launched, however no further details were provided.
Integrated customer portal: Indian Railways will launch an integrated customer-focused portal that will bring all Railway consumer services on a single platform.
On-board entertainment: On-board entertainment will be introduced on select Shatabdi trains on license-fee basis, and depending on passenger response it will be extended to other Shatabdi trains. We’re assuming this means video and music streaming services will be provided, however details are still sketchy.
Wi-Fi to be extended to Category B stations: The Minister mentioned that Wi-Fi hotspots will be introduced to 400 railway stations across the country. Besides A and A2 category stations, these hotspots will also be introduced category B stations. We’ve heard such announcements for several years now, but the on-ground truth is that so far Wi-Fi facility has only been introduced at the Delhi and Bangalore stations.
Pick-up and drop booking facility: Passengers will be allowed to book pick-ups and drops to and from railways stations on the IRCTC portal. However, no specific date was mentioned by the Minister. Passengers will also apparently be able to book wheelchairs online.
Surveillance cameras and women’s safety: Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments will be installed. Railways plan to augment women passenger security via Nirbhaya Fund.  
Ticket booking window increased: Railways to raise reserved ticket booking window to 120 days vs 60 days now. It should be interesting how online ticketing agencies can use this window.
Digital integration of vendors: The railways minister also announcd plans to digitally integrate vendors to improve efficiency. Considering the number of vendors the IRCTC has, this would help a lot of businesses.
Mobile charging points: Mobile phone charging facilities to be Provided in General Class coaches. Hope they can maintain the points properly considering the number of people who travel in this class.
Paperless ticketing for passengers and ticket examiners: Proposal to move towards paperless ticketing and charting- hand-held terminals to be provided for travelling ticket examiners for passenger verification and downloading charts. Seamless navigation after an integrated single-interface portal is put in place. The government is exploring the possibility of using SMSes as valid proof of travel for PRS tickets.
Watch the live stream of the budget speech here.
Today (10:13PM)  Rail Budget 2015: More funds for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh projects (www.deccanchronicle.com)
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Rail Budget

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Hyderabad: The Union Railway Budget presented by railway minister Suresh Prabhu has given a sizeable proportion of funds to long-pending projects in both the new states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The South Central Railway got Rs 2,768 crore allocations for infrastructure development in the Budget for 2015-16, which is Rs 500 crore more than the previous year.
Among passenger amenities, five new works have been sanctioned at the cost of Rs 29 crore to the South Central Railway Zone and 32 per cent traffic facilities have been allotted for the zone.
The railway minister said details of new trains will be announced at a later date.
A major demand of Telangana state had
been regarding the line projects. The Union Railway minister on Thursday allocated Rs 141 crore for the Peddapalli-Karimnagar-Nizamabad project, Rs 20 crore for the Manoharabad-Kotapalli line and Rs 1,200 crore for the new Secunderabad-Mahbubnagar double lining project.
Also, Rs 150 crore has been allocated for the Manchariyal-Peddam-pet line and Rs 45 crore for the Kazipet-Ballarsha triple lining project. The Secunderabad station might also soon have malls and shopping complexes coming up at the ‘air space’ of the station, including above the train lines. The SCR is hopeful of getting Secunderabad on the list of 10 stations that are to be selected for the purpose and a proposal in this regard has been sent. The Secunderabad-Mahbubnagar doubling project was approved with a cost of Rs 1,200 crore, however, allocation in the present Budget is Rs Rs 27.44 crore. 
Mahbubnagar MP A.P. Jitender Reddy had made attempts to get the project approved and was successful. Meanwhile, talking about MMTS phase II, the SCR general manager said that the project had no dearth of funds but was stuck due to problems with the contract. “The problem has been sorted out and the project is now proceeding in full swing,” he said.
Speaking about the proposal to change the name of AP Express to Telangana Express, the official said that it had been sent to the Board. Though, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has not officially reacted to the Rail Budget, the CMO sources said the CM is content with what the state had got, though he had expected more since TS is a new State.
Today (10:07PM)  Kerala's share sees an increase in railway budget (english.manoramaonline.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

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New Delhi: Kerala has had its share of allotments when Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden railway budget in Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Kanjikode rail coach factory project in Palakkad got a major boost with the minister granting it Rs 514 crore in total, of which Rs 144.98 crore will be this year's allotment. It was in 2011 that the factory, a long-pending demand of the Kerala government to the Railways, was given a green signal by the Union Ministry.
Thursday's budget also granted a token allotment of Rs 5 crore to the Sabarimala rail line.
Record sum has been kept away for doubling of four tracks in the state.
85 crore has been allotted for doubling of the Kollam-Tirunelveli route while Rs 55 crore will be given for doubling of Ambalapuzha-Haripad route.
The Ernakulam-Kumbalam route will get Rs 30 crore for doubling of the track and Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari route will get Rs 20 crore.
Suresh Prabhu also accounted Rs 58 crore for the Chengannur-Chingavanam track and Rs 10 crore for Kuruppanthara-Chingavanam route. This amount can be used to finish the doubling of the rail track via Kottayam station.
A sum of Rs. 4.5 crore has been allocated for doubling works on Mangalore-Kozhikode route and Rs. 1 crore on Cheppad-Kayamkulam route.
The Punalur-Chenkotta meter gauge, which was suffering from inefficient funds, has been allotted Rs 85 crore in the NDA government's Railway Budget. Last year, the track was given Rs 35 crore in the budget. The budget has also given nod for construction of the second terminal at Kollam railway station.
However, the Guruvayur-Thirunavaya rail line project could get only Rs 1 crore. The Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line, which would considerably reduce the time of travel from Kerala to Bengaluru, was also ignored in the budget. The state government had agreed to bear half of the project cost and had even set aside Rs 5 crore for it.
Today (10:05PM)  Highlights of Railway Budget 2015 (www.thehindu.com)
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Rail Budget

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Missed the presentation of this year's Railway Budget? Here's a quick recap of all major announcements made by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
The key themes of the Budget were in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiatives - Swachch Bharat Mission, Make in India and Digital India.
1 The most-expected part about this year's Railway Budget - there is no increase in passsenger rail fares. 2 Rs.8.5 lakh crore will be invested in Railways in next 5 years. 3 'Operation 5 mins', wherein passengers travellling unreserved can purchase a ticket in 5 minutes. 4 Bio toilets and airplane-type vaccum toilets in trains. 5 Surveillance cameras in select coaches and ladies compartments for women's safety without compromising on privacy. 6 Rail tickets can now be booked 120 days in advance. 7 Speed on
nine railway corridors to go up to 200 km per hour. 8 Wi-Fi in more stations, mobile phone charging facilities in all train compartments. 9 Facility of online booking of wheelchair for senior citizens. 10 Satellite railway terminals in major cities. 11 Centrally managed Rail Display Network is expected to be introduced in over 2K stations over the next 2 years. 12 All india 24/7 helpline - 138 from March 2015 ; Toll free No.182 for security. 13 917 road under-bridges and over-bridges to be constructed to replace 3,438 railway crossings; at a cost of Rs. 6,581 crore. 14 Four Railway Research Centres to start in four universities. 15 Details about new trains and increased frequency will be announced later in this session of Parliament after review. What is the investment plan?
The Railway Budget envisages an investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in next five years.
How is it going to be mobilized?
The Minister suggested that the money could be raised from multiple sources - from multilateral development banks to pension funds.
What is the action plan in the sphere fund raising?
Go in for partnership with key stakeholders - States, PSUs, partner with multilateral and bi-lateral organizations other governments to gain access to long-term financing. Also, get technology from overseas. The private sector could be roped in to improve last-mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernize station infrastructure.
What is the thrust?
The thrust will be on revamping management practices, systems, processes, and re-tooling of human resources.
What is the proposal on capacity augmentation?
1. De-congesting networks with basket of traffic-generating projects will be the priority
2. Priority to last-mile connectivity projects
3. Fast-track sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines
4. Commissioning 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8,686 crore, 84% higher Y-O-Y.
5. Commissioning 800 km of gauge conversion targeted in current fiscal.
6. 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with electrification, covering almost all States, at a cost of Rs. 96,182 crore, which is over 2700% higher in terms of amount sanctioned.
7. Traffic facility work is a top priority with an outlay of Rs. 2374 crore .
8. Award of 750 km of civil contracts and 1300 km of system contracts in 2015-16 on Dedicated
9. Freight Corridor (DFC); 55 km section of Eastern DFC to be completed in the current year.
10. Preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey (PETS) for four other DFCs in progress.
11. Acceleration of pace of Railway electrification: 6,608 route kilometers sanctioned for 2015-16, an increase of 1330% over the previous year.
Keywords: Railway Budget 2015, Suresh Prabhu, NDA government, new trains, train ticket fares, Railway Budget 2015 highlights
Today (10:02PM)  Punjab, Haryana CMs welcome Rail Budget (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
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CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana chief ministers have welcomed the Rail Budget presented today by Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, describing it as "people- friendly" and "development-oriented".
Hailing the budget as a visionary initiative towards strengthening the national transport system, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the decision to involve states to make Railways backbone of national connectivity would usher in a new era of cooperative federalism in the country. The chief minister, in a statement, said the decision of introducing 'Perishable Cargo Centres' for farmers at important railway stations was a revolutionary step aimed at facilitating them.
Likewise, Badal said, the announcement on embarking Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme to help farmers learn about new farming and marketing techniques, would also go a long way in bailing them out
from the current agrarian crisis. Badal said that for the first time in the history of the country thrust has been laid on cleanliness, hygiene, comfort, accessibility, service quality and speed of trains.
Welcoming the proposal to develop 'Satellite Railway Terminals' in major cities with the twin purpose of decongesting the areas as well as providing service to passengers residing in suburbs, he said most of the railway terminals in big cities were located in highly congested areas and this step would help in ensuring planned and integrated development of cities.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar termed the Rail Budget as pro-passenger.
"Besides sparing the passengers of fare hike, several facilities have also been introduced for their convenience," Khattar said.
The budget is more reformative and sensible than populist and aimed at bringing major changes for making travelling in the Indian Railways more comfortable, he said. He lauded the railway minister's announcement for formation of joint ventures with states.
This will enable the states like Haryana to construct new railway lines by raising funds, he said adding the Haryana government had already sent a proposal for signing an MoU with the Ministry of Railways in this regard.
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Today (10:00PM)  Rail Budget was like a train coach without passengers: Nitish Kumar (www.business-standard.com)
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Rail Budget

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Terms the Rail Budget just a lofty speech with no action plan
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today denounced the Rail budget and said it was "just a speech, without any budget". He also expressed apprehensions over stress on PPP model, terming them as "attempts at privatisation of railways through back door".
Kumar, who served as Railway minister during NDA regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said the railway budget was "like a train coach, but there are no passenger in it". The Bihar CM said though it sounds good that there was no announcement of fare hike, but demanded haircut in fares due to decline in petroleum prices. "Seeing slide in prices of diesel due to downslide in international pricing, the fares should have been slashed in fact,"
asked Kumar.
The Bihar CM expressed disappointment over lack of any announcement regarding pending Railway projects in Bihar like two production units in Chapra and Madhepura started by Railway minister in UPA I Lalu Prasad.
Read our full coverage on Union Budget
"Likewise there is no clarity on future of mega Railway bridges three of which are in Bihar," he said.
On announcement about new trains and increasing frequency of existing ones would be taken up later on, Kumar sarcastically said "the Railway budget seems divided into pieces."
"The budget was full of speech but without any action plan to support it", he said and apparently took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying "though the budget was read by Suresh Prabhu it was prepared much earlier by somebody else."
He commented that stress on PPP model in Railways brings the apprehension about "attempt at privatisation of Railway through back door."
On promise of running bullet train in between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, he said his experience in Railway says "it is impractical."
"Such ideas (bullet train) are good for showcasing but it does not seem feasible as it would require a huge investment and large scale acquisition of land," he said.
Today (9:59PM)  Karnataka CM terms rail budget as 'Derailed' (www.business-standard.com)
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In Karnataka, the state government has passed on the benefit of the crash in the crude oil prices to the common man by reducing the bus fares
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah today termed the second railway budget of the NDA government as a 'derailed' budget. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has failed to live up to the expectations of the common man, he said.
“Within nine months of Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister, the price of crude oil has come down by half in the international market. According to some estimates, this has resulted in savings of Rs 18,000 crore for the Railway Ministry. The minister could have passed on the benefits to the common man by announcing a cut in the train fares. This is a disappointing budget,” Siddaramaiah said.
Read our full coverage on Union Budget
In Karnataka, the state government has passed on the benefit of the crash in the crude oil prices to the common man by reducing the bus fares. The same could have been done by the Railway Minister, he said.
The chief minister also termed as a failure on the part of the NDA government not announcing any new trains. “The Centre has failed utterly in living up to the expectations of the common man. The wheel of development cannot be stopped. It has to keep on rolling,” he said.
He also questioned the Railway Minister as to what will he achieve by not announcing any new train. The minister has only announced the continuation of what was decided in the previous year’s budget. Railways is a common man's transport system; it cannot just think of making profits. The Railway Minister has also not specified how he will generate funds to take up so many modernisation programmes.
Former Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had announced 24 new trains for Karnataka and over half of them have not even been started by the Railways. The state government had asked for new trains between Gadag and Wadi, Davanagere and Tumakuru, Hospet and Hubballi, and Tumakuru and Arasikere. But, none of the trains were approved. The minister has also not said anything about the high-speed train between Bengaluru and Mysuru.
“It seems Suresh Prabhu has been deeply influenced by the Prime Minister in his oratorial skills. But, it looks as if he is trying to run a train without tracks,” Siddaramaiah ridiculed.
Today (9:58PM)  Rail Budget 2015: Power tariffs may rise after hike in freight rates for coal (economictimes.indiatimes.com)
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NEW DELHI: Electricity tariffs may rise as Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today increased freight rates for coal by 6.3 per cent, which would increase transportation cost for power producers.
An official of state-run miner Coal IndiaBSE 2.93 % said that the impact of freight rate hike would be on the landed cost of coal.
Another official said that the freight is paid by the consumer so the PSU "would not be impacted by the change."
Leading power producer NTPCBSE 3.40 % said that cost of production would rise by about 4-5 paise due to the freight rate hike.
"Around 2 per cent increase in cost of generation ... i.e. about 4-5 paise," the PSU
The Association of Power Producers (APP) said that the increase in freight rates would have a direct impact on power retail tariff - depending upon the distance from the mine, the power tariff would increase from about 5 paise per unit, which shouldn't be difficult to absorb.
"However, this increase in revenue should result in increased rakes for power sector to ensure full materialisation of committed quantity of coal by CIL (Coal India," it said.
Debasish Mishra, Senior Director (Consulting) Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India said, "An increase in rail freight for coal of 6.3 per cent would result in increase in electricity consumer tariff by 3 to 5 paise per unit of power."
He said that on an average variable cost of power would range between Rs 1.20 to Rs 1.50 per unit. Depending on the distance from the mines - the rail transportation cost would vary from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of the total variable cost.
The Railway Budget for 2015-16 proposed raising freight rates for 12 commodities that include a 6.3 per cent increase for coal.
Thermal power plants contribute about 70 per cent of the country's total power generation, which is over 2,58,000 MW at present.
Other commodities for which rail freight rates have been increased are cement (2.7 per cent), iron and steel (0.8 per cent), grains & pulses (10 per cent), urea (10 per cent), groundnut oil (2.1 per cent), LPG and kerosene (0.8 per cent).
However, for limestone, dolomite & manganese and speed diesel oil the rates have been reduced by 0.3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.
Today (9:54PM)  Rail Budget 2015 pragmatic, to improve ease of doing business: India Inc (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
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NEW DELHI:Terming the Rail Budget as "pragmatic", India Inc on Thursday welcomed the larger role envisaged for the private sector and said various measures proposed would bring in higher efficiency and improve ease of doing business.
"The Rail Budget would improve ease of doing business and improve connectivity of the manufacturing units with the ports and air connectivity. It would certainly in the long run remove bottlenecks in the key infrastructure for reducing cost of manufacturing in India," engineering exporters body EEPC India chairman Anupam Shah said.
READ ALSO: Find all Rail Budget 2015 stories here
Rail Budget: 25 passenger friendly announcements
"The initiatives like larger role of the private sector in station upgradation,
rolling stock and bulk transportation would go a long way in making the Railways efficient. Besides, enhancing train speed both for passenger and freight segment would bring in higher efficiency and improve ease of doing business," Assocham president Rana Kapoor said.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu did not hike passenger fares in the rail budget presented on Thursday.
READ ALSO: No fare hike, no new trains, but more investment
Suresh Prabhu outlines 4 goals for railways
The minister hiked the freight rate for cement, coal, others by up to 10 per cent; while envisaging investment of Rs 8.50 lakh crore in five years and proposed 77 new projects covering 9,400 km of doubling works, among others.
Besides, Prabhu announced a slew of measures for passengers including buttons and coin vending machines for railway tickets, e-catering to select meals from an array of choices, 24X7 helpline for passenger security issues and surveillance cameras in suburban coaches for women safety.
"Big increase in the Plan size of over Rs 1 lakh crore would lead to a positive impact on other sectors related with the railways. The budget shows that for the first time the government has started treating the Railways as a commercial enterprise without using it as a political vehicle," he added. "Rather than taking up long-term goals he has talked about a lot of short term plans which are more achievable. The budget is aggressive and ambitious in nature," president & CEO at GE Transportation Nalin Jain said.
"This is a very positive budget that can build momentum for significantly reformed railways in the years to come," G V Subrahmanyam," partner at Grant Thornton India LLP said.
"For building track capacity railways have a scheme where people can come and say I will build, operate and transfer (BOT) this particular section of the track. This was never open to the private investors. Now this area has been opened," MD of Rail Operations Hind Terminals L R Thapar said.
"The railway minister should have set some rules by which fare increases...This was the time to initiate a process by which fares will change over a period of time. Similarly for freight, we have seen that freight rates and passenger fares have not been touched. But the fact of the matter is they have been touched earlier," Sharat Mishra, Association of Container Train Operations, said.
"Apart from various measures to improve passenger amenities, increasing safety, capacity augmentation in the high density network areas and enhanced customer experience are welcomed," Siemens executive vice president (mobility), Tilak Raj Seth, said.
CII president-designate Sumit Mazumdar said, "We feel that Rail Budget is very positive. The industry have reasons to feel bullish. It will help build a good image of the country."
Alstom Transport India MD Bharat Salhotra said the budget promises to revamp the public private partnership (PPP) cell which would lead to rapid modernisation of railways. "It will also allow Indian Railways to induct from the private sector, new technologies based on life cycle costs rather than merely the capital cost of procurement," he added.
"This is a very positive budget that can build momentum for significantly reformed railways in the years to come," Grant Thornton India partner G V Subrahmanyam said.
Titagarh Wagons VC & MD Umesh Choudhury said, "The budget presents a five year comprehensive roadmap for the railways". India Electronics and Semiconductor Association chairman Ashok Chandak lauded government efforts towards digitization of railways. The Budget has proposed to introduce on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains, buttons, coin vending machines for railway tickets and e-catering to select meals from an array of choices.
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