The Indian Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, on February 26, 2013, presented his first annual budget for his ministry. As it is his first, the budget had to be in favor of the general public. There were no fare hikes and 93 new trains have been announced, with a host of proposals to travel safety and comfort.
The new facilities include a new ticketing system, escalators at key stations and a swanky coach in selected trains. Bansal, in his 80-minute budget speech in the Lok Sabha said, “The growth of Indian Railways is inextricably linked with the growth of the country”.
The railway minster added that the Railways must remain financially sustainable and that the resources generated must be brought back into the system. Bansal also assured that there will not be any major hike in fares as they were revised in the month of January 2013.
At the same time, the minister proposed minor revisions in some fares, like those for tatkal and other such special reservations. In terms of freight, he said that there would be an upward revision of 5-6% from April 1, 2013, so as to balance the hike in fuel costs. Bansal added that freight and passenger fares must be de-linked from fuel costs with periodic automatic adjustments.