Railways to extend more facilities to employees, families
Medical facilities for staff and their families in remote areas, increasing scholarship amount to girl child and setting up a Board to develop schools were some of the proposals put forth for welfare of Railway employees. The Railway Budget also included proposal for expansion of the scope of liberalised active retirement scheme guaranteed for safety category staff by enhancing the existing criteria of grade from Rs 1800 to Rs 1900. In order to provide easy access to medical facilities in remote and inaccessible areas for employees, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has proposed to provide 20 Road Medical Vans at different locations.
Besides increasing the scholarship amount to Rs 1,200 per month for girl child of gangman and Group-D employees for higher education, she said 20 hostels for children of railway employees have been commissioned and another 20 would be set up next year. Railways is planning to setting up a Railway Vidyalaya Prabandhan Board to improve quality of education imparted to children in 269 railway schools. The Board will draw up a plan for building the physical and educational infrastructure of these schools to be implemented in a time frame of three years.
Highest investment in Railways during 2011-12
The Rs 57,360-crore earmarked in the annual plan for 2011-12 is the highest ever investment made in a single year for Railways, which runs one of the largest networks in the world. "The annual plan for the year 2011-12....is the highest ever plan investment by the Railways in a single year", Mamata Banerjee said while presenting the Railway Budget for the next financial year on Friday.
"The Plan is proposed to be financed through gross budgetary support (GBS) of Rs 20,000 crore, diesel cess of Rs 1041 crore, internal resources of Rs 14,219 crore and market borrowings of Rs 20,594 crore through Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC)," the Railway minister said. Banerjee said an additional amount of Rs 10,000 crore would be raised next year through tax free bonds for financing select capacity enhancement works. The Minister said greater thrust this year would be on expanding rail network with a larger allocation of Rs 9,583 crore for new lines.
"It is planned to complete 1,000 km of new lines in 2011-12. In addition, the left over new lines from last year's target will also be completed. Apart from this, Rs 5406 crore and Rs 2,470 crore has been given for doubling and gauge conversion projects to complete 867 km and 1017 km, respectively," Banerjee said. She added that Rs 13,820 crore has been earmarked for acquisition of rolling stock of wagon, coaches and locomotives to overcome their shortage.
The Minister also proposed to create a fund 'Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojana' to implement socially-desirable projects during the 12th Five Year Plan. She said the Railways is already executing 19 projects in underdeveloped areas of Orissa, Jharkhabnd, Chattissgarh, Bihar and Maharashtra. "I propose to increase the allocation to these projects to Rs 771 crore," she said. A non-lapsable fund for North-East has also been created to give a boost to Railway projects in the region. All the state capitals of this region, except Sikkim, will get connected by rail network in the next seven years, Banerjee said.
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