National Affairs – March 2013
- The ‘National IPv6 Deployment Roadmap Version – II, a document containing policy guidelines for IPv6 transition prepared by NT Cell, Department of Telecom (DoT), was released by Union Minister for Communications & IT, Kapil Sibal in New Delhi on 25 March. Sibal said that Internet is an important tool to connect not only people but also people and devices. The explosive growth of mobile subscribers and exponential growth of data has made it imperative to transit to IPv6 to move to smart knowledge society. He emphasized that IPv6 is a limitless highway and the challenge is to bridge the gap between IPv4 and IPv6. He further added that Internet of Things (IoT) offers an immense opportunity for India whereby products & services based on IPv6 can be manufactured here and exported globally. He said that IPv6 based innovative applications in areas like rural emergency healthcare tele-education, smart metering, smart grid, smart building, smart city etc. have tremendous potential to boost the socio-economic development of the country.
- In a major step towards indigenisation and making the Navy self-reliant, the third anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, designed under the ambitious Project-28 (P-28) by the Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, was launched in Kolkata on 26 March. Aimed at enhancing the Navy’s underwater warfare capabilities, the warship, in a first of its kind, will be fitted with indigenous state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including a medium range gun, torpedo tube launchers, rocket launchers and close-in weapon system. Being built by one of India’s leading shipbuilders, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), it has been named after an island — Kiltan — in the Lakshwadweep archipelago of India. It was launched by Chitra Joshi, wife of the Navy Chief Admiral D. K. Joshi. The first GRSE-built ASW corvette, Kamorta, is expected to be delivered to the Navy by this year-end. It was launched on April 19, 2010 and had suffered a delay of nearly one year. The remaining ships, according to GRSE, will be delivered by 2016. The fourth ASW corvette will be launched in 2014 and built, fitted and tested and delivered to the Navy in little over 20 months, the officials said.
- All government organisations should have a plan to shift to a network that supports new version of internet addresses, IPv6, by 2017-end, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on said on 26 March. IPv6 will be used for rural emergency healthcare, tele-education, smart-metering, smart grid, smart-building, smart-cities which has tremendous potential for socio-economic development of this country,” Sibal said while unveiling the roadmap. The government has started issuing IPv6 address following shortage of previous version of internet address, IPv4. “The current version, IPv4, has almost run out of addresses. The explosive growth of number of subscribers and the increasing number of devices has made it necessary to migrate to IPv6. Its adoption is must for secure and sustainable growth of internet,” Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.According to the plan, DoT has said that government organizations should prepare a detailed transition plan for complete migration to IPv6 by December 2017.“The plan should be prepared latest by December 2013 and accordingly the required budgetary provisions should be made in their demand for grant. For this purpose, it is recommended that a dedicated transition unit in each organization should be formed immediately to facilitate entire transition,” DoT Member (Tech) R K Bhatnagar said.The roadmap mandates that all internet connections provided to business organizations should support new version of internet addresses, IPv6, from January 1, 2014 onwards.“All new enterprise customer connections both wireless and wire line, provided by Service Providers on or after 01-01-2014 shall be capable of carrying IPv6 traffic either on dual stack or on native IPv6,” Bhatnagar said. Meanwhile, Sibal said the government will not extend tenure of Chandrasekhar.
- The Union Government on 29 March 2013 decided to set up 2000 telecom towers in tribal areas with a cost of around 3000 crore Rupees. With over 93 crore mobile connections in use, the next e-governance revolution would be expected to happen around mobile telephones. The government has created special programmes to ensure that all the services being provided now online through kiosks can be provided through mobile phones as well. The domestic IT industry is expected to grow at 12% over the next four years, reaching a size of R1.75 lakh crore by 2016. While the IT services segment is expected to grow at 14% to R96600 crore by 2016, the hardware segment is likely to grow 6% to R44,400 crore and the software products will grow by 14% to R34400 crore. In addition, the government is also planning to set up 10 more Software Technology Parks of India for promoting IT exports.
- In what can be considered as a breather for the common man, people can book their refill gas cylinder without having to wait for 21 days from the first cylinder’s delivery. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry’s decision to scrap the time limit to book the second subsidized gas cylinder will come into effect from April 1. Local gas agencies have been empowered to allow booking for LPG refill without any wait. Greater Hyderabad Gas Cylinder Dealers Association member Ashok said that from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 consumers can avail up to nine cylinders of their subsidized quota. “After giving a proper reason for the immediate necessity, consumer can avail the second cylinder,” he said. On reaching the subsidized limit, if the consumers want to purchase an LPG cylinder, it will have to be at the non-subsidized rate.
- The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on 19 March 2013 approved the National Food Security Bill. The food security bill approved is directed towards giving the right to food to around 67 per cent of India’s 120-crore population. The amendments to the Bill will guarantee 5 kg of food grains per person per month; while families in the poorest of the poor will continue to get 35 kg of grains per month. As per the bill around 800 crore people will be entitled to get five kilos of subsidised grain per month. Rice will be made available at 3 Rupees per kilo; wheat will cost 2 rupees a kilo and cereal will be sold for 1 Rupees per kilo. The beneficiaries are supposed to be decided by state governments, while the criteria to exclude 33 per cent of population would be provided by the Planning Commission, Thomas said. The scheme will be linked to the Aadhar scheme which provides every citizen with a unique identification number that’s linked to a database that includes the biometrics of all card-holders. It is also evident from the present year budget, that 90000 crore Rupees is allocated for spending on food subsidies with the government setting aside an extra 10 000 crore Rupees for the bill.
- To enhance the Army’s firepower, the government has approved a Rs 1,500 crore proposal for production of more than 2,000 rockets for the Pinaka multi- barrel weapons system. The Army requires more than 2,000 of these rockets to equip its 10-12 regiments comprising the Pinaka launchers.
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 23 March, has given a nod to the proposal moved by the Defence Ministry for upgrading the capabilities of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for producing these rockets. As per the proposal, OFB, under the Department of Defence Production, will upgrade facilities at nine of its factories engaged in the production of Pinaka rockets.With a focus on indigenisation to avoid scams in acquisition of foreign military hardware, the Defence Ministry has also decided to pump in Rs 15,000 crore to augment domestic military production.The major plans of OFB include augmentation of production capabilities for T-90 and T-72 tanks, engines for armored vehicles and setting up of 155mm howitzer production plants. Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The Pinaka system has a maximum range of 39–40 km and can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds, neutralizing a target area of 3.9 km2.
The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. Pinaka was in service and in large use during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralizing enemy positions on the mountain tops. It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers.
- Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur on 23 March 2013 got their own High Courts.Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Judge of Chhattisgarh High Court took oath as the first Chief Justice of Manipur High Court on 23 March 2013. Gurbachan Jagat Governor of Manipur administered his oath for the office in Imphal. Justice Deepak Gupta along with three other judges would be administered the oath to the High Court of Tripura by the Governor of Bihar and Tripura Dr. D Y Patil. Ashwini Kumar, the Union Law Minister will open the High Court of Manipur in Presence of Chief Justice of India, Altamas Kabir on 25 December 2013. Justice T Meena Kumari was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court by Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary.Justice Kumari was earlier a judge of the Patna High Court. The newly established Meghalaya High Court will be formally inaugurated on March 25 by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice Altamas Kabir. Apart from Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura have also been given their own full-fledged high courts. While, the strength of judges in the two high courts will be three each including the chief justice, Tripura High Court, however, will have four judges including the chief justice. Notably, with the approval of these three full-fledged high courts in the North East, the total number of high courts in the country will increase from 21 to 24.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 was passed in the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013. Now the bill will be the tabled in the Rajya Sabha where the voting will take place. The bill encompasses features that will provide stringent punishment for crimes against women such as rape, acid attacks, voyeurism and stalking. The punishments range from life term to death penalty for the repeated offenders. The Bill brought out after the Delhi gang rape of the Para-medical student on 16 December 2012, also fixed the age of consensual sex to 18 years. The key features of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 passed in the Lok Sabha are as follows:
1) The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 was actually the Ordinance that was promulgated by the President of India on 3 February 2013.
2) The bill seeks to make amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act as well as Indian Evidence Act.
3) The bill states that offender could be given an imprisonment of not less than 20 years, extendable up to life term.
4) The bill also includes provisions for death sentence for offenders who are convicted earlier for such crimes.
5) This is for the first time that the bill described voyeurism and stalking as the non-bailable offences, in case repeated for the second time.
6) Perpetrators of acid attacks would be sentenced for 10-year jail term.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 incorporated some new offences in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) .those are- Acid Attack, Attempt to Acid Attack, Sexual Harassment, Public disrobing of woman, Voyeurism, Stalking.
In light of the gang rape of female physiotherapy student on 16 December 2012 in Delhi, the judicial committee which was headed by Justice J. S. Verma was appointed by the Government of India on 22 December 2012 for submitting the report, suggesting amendments in criminal law for dealing with sexual assault cases. The Justice Verma panel, which is a 3-member commission created to review the laws for sexual crimes submitted the report to the Government of India on 23 January 2013.As a result, the Cabinet Ministers approved the bringing of ordinance on 1 February 2013 for bringing into law the suggestions of Verma Committee Report. Subsequently, the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 3 February 2013 agreed to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 for sharpening the laws against sexual assault.
- India has been ranked 136 among 187 countries evaluated for human development index (HDI) – a measure for assessing progress in life expectancy, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living or gross national income per capita. The Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 2013, released on 14 March, puts India’s HDI value for the last year at 0.554, placing it in the medium human development category, which it shares with Equatorial Guinea. On the positive side, India’s HDI value went up from 0.345 to 0.554 between 1980 and 2012, an increase of 61 per cent or an average annual increase of 1.5 per cent. Life expectancy at birth increased by 10.5 years, mean years of schooling by 2.5 years and expected years of schooling by 4.4 years. Importantly, the gross national income (GNI) per capita went up 273 per cent, the report says. Despite India’s progress, its HDI of 0.554 is below the average of 0.64 for countries in the medium human development group, and of 0.558 for countries in South Asia. From South Asia, countries which are close to India’s HDI rank and population size are Bangladesh and Pakistan with HDIs ranked 146 each. But the report points out that the ranking masks inequality in the distribution of human development across the population. Even on the Gender Inequality Index — inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity — India has been ranked 132nd among the 148 countries for which data is available. In India, only 10.9 per cent of the parliamentary seats are held by women, and 26.6 per cent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education, compared with 50.4 per cent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 200 women die of causes related to pregnancy, and female participation in the labour market is 29 per cent, compared with 80.7 per cent for men. As for the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations in the same household in education, health and living standard, India’s value averages out at 0.283, a little above Bangladesh’s and Pakistan’s. The figures for evaluating MPI have been drawn from the 2005-06 survey, according to which 53.7 per cent of the population lived in multidimensional poverty, while an additional 16.4 per cent were vulnerable to multiple deprivations.
- Union Cabinet approved Electronic Services Bill that is directed towards providing access to all central and state government services such as passport, ration card and driving licenses electronically, especially the Internet, within eight years. The bill will be of directive nature and mandate the government organisations to start providing all services for citizen within eight years time through electronic medium. The (central and state) governments will notify the service that they will provide electronically in next 5 years. They will be given extra three years after five years to ensure all services all provided electronically. The bill is supposed to bring more transparency in the system as the electronic delivery of services will help rein in corruption. The Electronic Service Delivery bill was brought before the Cabinet to bring it in sync with Citizens Charter Bill or The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, and was approved by Union Cabinet on 7 March 2013.
- The State Bank of India (SBI) planned to start around 1200 new branches in India as well as eight overseas branches in financial year 2013-2014. SBI planned to open 100 branches in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra under its domestic expansion plan. In the overseas expansion plan, it planned to open two branches in UK and Bangladesh each and one each in Sri Lanka, South Korea, China and Netherlands. It is important to note that South Korea already has SBI branch and now there are plans to upgrade the existing representative office into full-fledged branch. SBI aimed to open offshore branches for catering to the Non-Resident Indians as well as Indian businesses. By starting these eight offshore branches, the network would increase to 59. SBI is said to be the largest bank of India with 14677 branches spread across India. In the meanwhile, SBI is also in the process to recruit 1500 Probationary Officers for managing the increasing operations.
- In Madhya Pradesh, Union power ministry on 16 March 2013 inaugurated a Spice Park in Mawan area of Guna district. This spice park has been built at a cost of fifty five crore rupees. Farmers from Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch, Ratlam, Guna, Ashoknagar, Shivpuri, Bara and Jhalawad districts of Rajasthan will be benefited by the spice park. Products will be processed and packaged in the park and will be exported to different countries. The Fruit and Spice Park is a 37-acre (15 ha) botanical garden in metropolitan Miami at 24801 SW 187 Avenue, located in the rural agricultural community of the Redland, Florida, United States. The park contains more than 500 varieties of fruit, nut, and spice trees, including more than 80 banana varieties, 125 varieties of mango.
- The Union Cabinet on 14 March 2013 cleared a Bill providing for severe punishment for rape, acid attack, stalking and voyeurism more to the point reducing the age of consent for sex to 16 years. The bill which was named the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 lowers the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 years with making of rape as a gender-specific offence under which men only can be charged for it. The Bill is brought in line with the Indian Penal Code, but at variance with the Child Protection Act, 2012, which raised it to 18.
- The bill brought against the milieu of the 16 December 2012 Delhi gang rape, provides for minimum jail term of 20 years for rape which may be extended tonatural life of the convict in jail. There is also provision for death sentence if the victim dies or is left in a ‘persistent vegetative state’. Stalking, voyeurisms have been defined as criminal offences in the bill. Sustained stalking will be a non-bailable offence. As per the bill there is replacement in more general expressionsexual assault used in the ordinance. It also provides for the death sentence if the rape victim dies or ends up in a vegetative state. The approval of the Cabinet paves the way for introduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Parliament before it goes into recess on 22 March 2013.The bill also proposes a punishment of not less than 10 years to a maximum of life imprisonment.
- The Supreme Court on 14 March, restrained Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country even as the Government decided to withhold the sending of a new envoy to Italy and resolved to throw out Mr. Mancini once the court finishes dealing with the issue. On a parallel track, the Foreign Office began a review of its engagements with Italy to be in a position to implement Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s warning of “consequences” if Rome went back on its commitment of sending the marines back within four weeks. As the apex court had let off the marines on February 22, Government sources said the window will close after a week. In a significant decision taken following a late evening meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister (EAM) Salman Khurshid, India will not send a new Ambassador to Rome to replace Rajiv Dogra who has retired and is back in the country.Mr. Basant Gupta was all set to leave for Rome but was asked to stay back .The Government is also thinking of throwing out the Italian Ambassador once the Supreme Court is through with the issue. “Our hands are tied at the moment because the Supreme Court is hearing the matter. We don’t know what direction the case will take. But once the court has decided how to deal with the Ambassador, we will declare him persona non-grata,” said sources.At the PM-EAM meeting, it was also felt that the European Union must be taken into confidence about the developments. Accordingly, Indian envoys in the 27 EU member countries will present the case in Brussels as well as in the respective national capitals. In Delhi too, envoys will be briefed on the reasons for India’s anger, to balance the perspective provided by Italy.
- Union Minister of Communications & IT, Kapil Sibal on 8 March 2013 inaugurated the First All Women Employees Post Office of India at Shastri Bhawan in New Delhi. The Post Office is called Project Arrow Office and consists of three counters. Two of the three counters offer Multi Purpose services such as registration, booking of money orders, booking of speed post as well as sale of IPOs. Other counter is meant to facilitate the sale of stamps. All the three counters will have only women employees. Overall, there are 1003 women employees at operative level in Delhi circle. The percentage of these women in overall workforce is around 14 percent. In administrative cadres, percentage of women employees is 22 percent.
- The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 15 March 2013 released a commemorative postal stamp at XXXIII Convocation of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) at Chandigarh. The President attended the 33rd Convocation of PGIMER. The President announced that for the future of India, progress in health sector was crucial. The stamp was released as the part of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of PGIMER. It is important to note that PGIMER includes doctors, students, faculty members as well as officials of UT Administration, Punjab and Haryana.
- Andhra Pradesh Cheif Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy at Zaheerabad, Medak district on 6 March, inaugurated Asia’s first largest tractor plant and first in Andhra Pradesh state, established by Mahindra and Mahindra Limited. The 300-crrore worth tractor plant set up with an installed capacity of 1,00,000 tractors per annum was the first manufacturing unit come up in Andhra Pradesh after become chief Minister of the state, Mr Reddy said on the occasion. The world class facility which is equipped to meet international manufacturing standards spread across 80 acres of land. As many as 65 projects were cleared in the state Investment board earlier and Rs 1, 33,000 lakh crore investments would come up in the state, the chief Minister said on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, M & M Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said with the support of the state government that the plant was constructed within 18-months and the group was planning to establish 200 Mahindra Pride Schools across the country and in which one school will come up in Andhra Pradesh.
- Facing relentless opposition, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the Rajya Sabha on 6 March, of “stringent action” against those who had siphoned off money from the UPA’s farm loan waiver scheme. The government also agreed to have a discussion on the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report, which was tabled in Parliament on 5 March and highlighted the irregularities. His promise of action apart, Dr. Singh favored that the normal procedure be followed: referring the report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).Conceding the vociferous demand from the Opposition, the government agreed to discuss the report in the Lok Sabha. Raising the issue during zero hour, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said thousands of people were denied the benefit, while those ineligible got the relief. Demanding that bank officials and auditors be questioned, she said the RBI had convened a meeting of banks in January and given them time to rectify the mistakes, “but no action was taken.”Ms. Swaraj also sought a structured discussion on the “very serious matter.”
- 62 year old Former CBI Director, Ashwani Kumar on 9 March 2013 appointed as Governor of Nagaland. Ashwani Kumar was the Director of the agency from August 2008 to November 2010. He will be the first head of the agency to be appointed as a Governor. With the appointment of Ashwani Kumar Former Delhi Police Commissioner Nikhil Kumar, who was serving as Governor of Nagaland, has been transferred and appointed as Governor of Kerala for the remainder of his tenure. President Pranab Mukherjee also transferred Governor of Tripura D Y Patil to Bihar and shifted Bihar Governor Devanand Konwar to Tripura for the remainder of their five-year terms, Four time Chief Minister of Nagaland and former Governor of Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, 81-year-old SC Jamir was appointed as Governor of Odhisa. SC Jamir succeeds 84-year-old M C Bhandare who had been appointed as Governor in August 2007 and was continuing even after his term had expired last year.
- Mukul Manda Sangma of Congress was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya for the second term on 5 March 2013. He took oath for the second term as 26th Chief Minister of the state. The Governor, R.S. Mooshahary administered him the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhavan premises in Shillong. 47-year old Mukul Sangma led the Congress with 29 seats, merely two seats short of the majority in a house of 60. He was sworn-in without the Council of Ministers. Announcement of the list of Council of Ministers will be made by Mukul Manda Sangma in the second week of March 2013.
- The Union Cabinet on 6 March gave in principle approval to a bill providing for time-bound delivery of services like pensions, passports, caste certificates, death certificates, ration cards and tax refunds, among others, to the citizens. Defaults will attract a penalty of Rs 250 a day subject to a maximum of Rs 50,000. The Right of Citizens for Time-Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011, was approved by Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The bill envisages penalty of up to Rs 50,000 against a government official failing to provide his or her duties, official sources said.It lays down an obligation upon every public authority to publish citizen’s charter, stating therein the time within which specified goods shall be supplied and services be rendered and provides for a grievance redressal mechanism for non-compliance of its provisions.
- The Railway Budget 2013-14 presented by the Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in the Parliament on 26 february,lays thrust on safety, consolidation, improving passenger amenities and fiscal discipline. The Budget has proposed working expenses of Rs. 96,500 crore against the Gross Traffic Receipts of Rs. 1, 43,742 crore for the year. The Railway Minister has proposed that appropriation to the Pension Fund of Railway Employees to Rs. 22,000 crore while appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund to Rs. 7,500 crore. With these proposals Railways expected to close the year 2013-14 with a balance of Rs. 12,506 crore in the Railway Fund. Pawan Kumar Bansal has proposed highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 63,363 crore for 2013-14 which will be financed through Gross Budgetary Support of Rs. 26,000 crore and internal resources of 14,260 crore. Market borrowing of Rs.15,103 crore, Railways share in Road Safety Fund of Rs.2000 and Rs.6000 crore will also be mobilized through PPP mode to finance operations of Railways during the year. Due to the financial discipline railways has been able to fully repay its loan of Rs. 3,000 crore and its operating ratio during the 2013-14 is expected to increase to 87.8% as compared to 88.8% in 2011-12. The Minister informed that the Indian Railways is set to achieve the milestone of entering the select club of railways with over 1 million ton freight loading. At present, only the Chinese, Russian and the US Railways have this distinction. The Indian Railways have joined another select club of railways which run freight trains of more than 10,000 tones load.
- Highlights of Railway Budget 2013-14
- 67 new Express trains to be introduced
- 26 new passenger services, 8 DEMU services and 5 MEMU services to be introduced
- Run of 57 trains to be extended
- Frequency of 24 trains to be increased
- First AC EMU rake to be introduced on Mumbai suburban network in 2013-14
- 72 additional services to be introduced in Mumbai and 18 in Kolkata
- Rake length increased from 9 cars to 12 cars for 80 services in Kolkata and 30 services in Chennai
- 500 km new lines, 750 km doubling, 450 km gauge conversion targeted in 2013-14
- First ever rail link to connect Arunachal Pradesh
- Some Railway related activities to come under MGNREGA
- For the first time 347 ongoing projects identified as priority projects with the committed funding
- Highest ever plan outlay of Rs. 63,363 crore
- Loan of Rs. 3000 crore repaid fully.
- A new fund-Debt Service Fund set up to meet committed liabilities.
- Freight loading of 1047 MT, 40 MT more than 2012-13
- Passenger growth 5.2% in 2013-14
- Gross Traffic Receipts – Rs. 1, 43,742 crore i.e. an increase of 18,062 crore over RE, 2012-13
- Dividend payment estimated at Rs. 6,249 crore
- Operating Ratio to be 87.8% in 2013-14
- Supplementary charges for super fast trains, reservation fee, clerkage charge, cancellation charge and tatkal charge marginally increased
- Fuel Adjustment Component linked revision for freight tariff to be implemented from 1st April 2013
- Enhanced reservation fee abolished
- Elimination of 10797 Level Crossings (LC) during the 12th Plan and no addition of new LCs henceforth
- Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains
- ‘Aadhar’ to be used for various passenger and staff related services
- Internet ticketing from 0030 hours to 2330 hours
- E-ticketing through mobile phones
- Project of SMS alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status
- Next –Gen e-ticketing system to be rolled out : capable of handling 7200 tickets per minute against 2000 now, 1.20 lakh users simultaneously against 40,000 now
- Introduction of executive lounge at 7 more stations: Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bengaluru
- Introduction of ‘Azadi Express’ to connect places associated with freedom movement
- Four companies of women RPF personnel set up and another 8 to be set up to strengthen the security of rain passengers, especially women passengers
- 10% RPF vacancies being reserved for women
- 1.52 lakh vacancies being filled up this year out of which 47000 vacancies have been earmarked for weaker sections and physically challenged
- Railways to impart skills to the youth in railway related trades in 25 locations
- Provision of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains
- Pilot project on select trains to facilitate passengers to contact on board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for coach cleanliness and real time feedback
- Provision of announcement facility and electronic display boards in trains
- providing free Wi-Fi facilities on several trains
- Upgrading 60 stations as Adarsh Stations in addition to 980 already selected
- Introduction of an ‘Anubhuti’ coach in select trains to provide excellent ambience and latest facilities and services
- 179 escalators and 400 lift at A-1 and other major stations to be installed facilitating elderly and differently-abled
- Affixing Braille stickers with layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly
- Centralized Catering Services Monitoring Cell set up with a toll free number (1800 111 321)
- Complimentary card passes to recipients of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna & Dhyan Chand Awards to be valid for travel by 1st Class/2nd AC
- Complimentary card passes to Olympic Medalists and Dronacharya Awardees for travel in Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
- Travel by Duronoto Trains permitted on all card passes issued to sportspersons having facility of travel by Rajdhani/Shatabadi Trains
- Facility of complimentary card passes valid in 1st class/2nd AC extended to parents of posthumous unmarried awardees of Mahavir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, and President’s Police Medal for Gallantry and policy medal for Gallantry
- Passes for freedom fighters to be renewed once in three years instead of every year.
- Setting up of six more Rail Neer bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad
- Setting up of a multi-disciplinary training institute at Nagpur for training in rail related electronics technologies
- Setting up of a centralized training institute at Secunderabad–Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management
- Five fellowships in national universities to be instituted to motivate students to study and undertake research on Railway related issues at M.Phil and Ph.D. levels
- Fund allocation for staff quarters enhanced to Rs. 300 crore
- Provision of hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all divisional headquarters