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Railway Budget 2015 LIVE: Suresh Prabhu reaches Rail Bhavan

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New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will present Narendra Modi government’s first full-fledged Rail Budget on Thursday. The Rail Budget may contain proposals for ‘Make in India’ initiatives besides enhancing safety and security.

Here are the live updates:

– Lok Sabha adjourned till 11:30 am amid uproar over Venkaiah Naidu’s remarks. The minister clarifies in Lok Sabha, says, “I respect the Opposition. I have never used unparliamentary language.”

– Suresh Prabhu Reaches Rail Bhavan

– Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu leaves for Rail Bhavan

– Opposition threatens to disrupt proceedings during presentation of Rail Budget in Lok Sabha over Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s controversial remarks made yesterday. Naidu had said that “minority cannot trample majority”.

– Hope to improve Railways, says Prabhu

– Have to keep in mind long-term benefit of Railways, says Prabhu

– Will take the right step on fare hike, says Prabhu

– Will not leave work after Budget. The journey is long, it will not be completed in a year, says Prabhu

– Suresh Prabhu says Budget will set the direction, but it will be a tough and long journey.

– It is a tough task but we will work hard, Prabhu says.

– This is common man’s transport, our dream is to bring it back on track, says Prabhu.

– Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to leave for Parliament at 10.45 am.

– PM has a dream to improve the Railways, says Prabhu.

– Rail Budget will be as per common man’s expectations, Sinha says.

– Expansion and modernization of Indian Rail network will find space in Budget, passengers will benefit, says Manoj Sinha.

– Ahead of the Rail Budget to be announced at 12 noon today, Manoj Sinha, MoS Railways, says that common man will be given prime importance.
The Railway Minister had earlier ruled out a cut in fares in the context of reduced diesel rates but he is expected to make a tightrope walk as he tries to bridge the huge gap in finances while presenting his maiden Rail Budget in the Lok Sabha.

In the first Rail Budget of the Modi government in July last year, fares were increased by 14.2 percent and freight rates by 6.5 percent.

Considered a reformer, Prabhu may lay the road map for attracting private investment for the public transporter, which badly needs funds for completion of many crucial rail projects.

As the Railway Minister has stressed on improvement in passenger amenities before increasing fares, there will be a series of measures including utilisation of CSR funds to improve amenities at rail premises.

Prabhu is expected to focus on tapping more revenue channels and could announce some innovative ways for raising resources through non-tariff methods like increasing revenues from advertisements and leveraging surplus land among others.

In line with the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign, Rail Budget 2015 is likely to give special attention to cleanliness exercise and a slew of measures like provision for dustbins in all coaches besides proposal to cover 100 more trains under ‘On Board Housekeeping Services’.

Keeping with the NDA government’s bullet train promise, Prabhu could announce the way forward for the ambitious high-speed train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and survey programmes for the proposed diamond quadrilateral route.

Customer satisfaction will be a focus area of this year’s Rail Budget as a series of steps including air-conditioning of Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains for inter-city services and noise reduction in diesel locomotive cabs are likely to be proposed, sources said.

The Railway Minister is also likely to spell out plans for joint venture mechanism for implementing projects involving state governments and other external agencies.

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