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Today, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu presented the NDA government’s first full Railway Budget.
He announced a slew of passenger services aimed at improving the travelling experience of the commuters and mentioned that the Railways Ministry received over 20,000 suggestions through social media and some of them have been incorporated into the budget, reports Business Today.
He said railways need to go for a transformation and the quality of services is a priority for his government.
The minister announced several steps to revamp the facilities at the railway stations, ticketing and other passenger services. Higher involvement of the private sector in railways functioning is also one of the key elements of the railway budget for 2015-16.
Here are the key highlights that the Indian Railways plans to introduce:
- Enable booking of unreserved tickets on smartphones using debit cards.
- E-catering service to be introduced on 108 trains and meals can be booked online through the IRCTC portal.
- Passengers will receive SMS alerts for train timings, including expected arrival times, delays, etc.
- Launching a multi-lingual e-ticketing portal.
- Will also launch an integrated customer-focused portal that will bring all railway consumer services on a single platform.
- On-board entertainment will be introduced on select Shatabdi trains on license-fee basis.
- 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.
- Passengers will be allowed to book pick-ups and drops to and from railways stations on the IRCTC portal.
- Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments will be installed.
- Railways to raise reserved ticket booking window to 120 days vs 60 days now.
- Also announced plans to digitally integrate vendors to improve efficiency.
- Mobile phone charging facilities to be Provided in General Class coaches.