Budget and Economic Survey - Current Affairs for March, 2016

Budget and Economic Survey Current Affairs for March, 2016

Month wise coverage of Budget and Economic Survey Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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  • Month & Year   
▼ Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM)   [03-21-16]

  • The Department of Disinvestment is being renamed as the “Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM)”.
  • A new policy for management of Government investment in Public Sector Enterprises, including disinvestment and strategic sale, has been approved.
  • Government will leverage the assets of CPSEs for generation of resources for investment in new projects. Government will encourage CPSEs to divest individual assets like land, manufacturing units, etc. to release their asset value for making investment in new projects.
  • The NITI Aayog will identify the CPSEs for strategic sale.

▼ New health protection scheme; reduce hospitalization expenditure   [03-21-16]

  • Severe illnesses push lakhs of households below the poverty line every year.
  • New health protection scheme will provide health cover up to Rs. One lakh per family.
  • For senior citizens an additional top-up package up to Rs. 30,000 will be provided.

▼ FDI norms as per Union Budget 2016-17   [03-21-16]

  • The FY’17 Budget has also proposed to hike the investment limit for foreign entities in Indian stock exchanges from five per cent to 15 per cent on par with domestic institutions.
  • This move is aimed at enhancing global competitiveness of Indian stock exchanges and accelerating adoption of best-in-class technology and global market practices, the government said.
  • Also, the existing 24 per cent limit for investment by foreign portfolio investors (FPI) in CPSEs other than banks, listed in stock exchanges, will be increased to 49 per cent.
  • The move is to obviate the need for prior approval of government for increasing the FPI investment.

▼ FDI relaxation in Union Budget   [03-21-16]

  • The government announced the policy of 100% FDI in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India.
  • This will provide impetus to the foreign investment in food processing sector, benefit farmers immensely and will create vast employment opportunities. This will help farmers get remunerative prices for their produce, transfer of technology and modern agricultural practices required for producing agricultural produce on a large scale to meet the requirements of organized marketing.
  • The entry of FDI in food marketing will incentivize farmers to adopt correct agricultural practices and make internationally acceptable products. It will also address issue of crop wastage.
  • Foreign investment will be allowed in the insurance and pension sectors in the automatic route up to 49% subject to the extant guidelines on Indian management and control to be verified by the Regulators.
  • In the FY’15 Budget, the government had increased the composite cap (including FDI and foreign institutional investment) in the insurance sector (and automatically in the pension sector as well) to 49 per cent from the 26 per cent but with full Indian management and control and through the government approval (through Foreign Investment Promotion Board or FIPB) route.
  • Investors had delayed new investments in the sectors citing ambiguity regarding the rider specifying that management and control should be in Indian hands.

▼ National Dialysis Services Programme   [03-21-16]

  • The government proposes to start ‘National Dialysis Services Programme’.
  • Funds will be made available through PPP mode under the National Health Mission, to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals.
  • To reduce the cost, government will exempt certain parts of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty, excise/CVD and SAD.
  • The government had last year imposed a heavier levy on consumables used in dialysis, spiking the procedure rates by 17 to 20 per cent.
  • But the tax exemption announced in the budget applies only to dialysis equipment and not consumables.

▼ Taxing the rich – 10% Dividend tax, 15% Surcharge, TDS of 1% on luxury cars   [03-21-16]

  • Additional tax at the rate of 10% of gross amount of dividend will be payable by the recipients receiving dividend in excess of Rs. 10 lakh per annum.
  • Surcharge to be raised from 12% to 15% on persons, other than companies, firms and cooperative societies having income above RS. 1 crore.
  • Tax to be deducted at source at the rate of 1 % on purchase of luxury cars exceeding value of Rs. ten lakh and purchase of goods and services in cash exceeding Rs. two lakh.
  • These fall under additional resource mobilization for agriculture, rural economy and clean environment

▼ Eligibility of Income declaration Scheme (IDS)    [03-21-16]

  • Tax payers, whose returns were picked for random scrutiny by the authorities in recent years, would not be eligible to turn concealed income into ‘white’ under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), announced in the Union Budget to bring black money into the tax net.
  • The scheme also shuts out ‘innocent’ taxpayers who filed returns on time but whose cases were chosen for scrutiny to verify claims.
  • This could be a dampener for the scheme as it would exclude potential disclosures from people who received notices seeking a regular explanation on the returns they had filed.
  • Under the income declaration scheme, people who have received notices under Sections 142 (1), 143 (2), 148, 153A or 153C of the Income Tax Act are not eligible to disclose previously concealed income.
  • Separately, as per the explanatory memorandum to the budget, it won’t be open to cases “where a search or survey has been conducted and the time for issuance of notice under the relevant provisions of the Act has not expired, or where information is received under an agreement with foreign countries regarding such income, cases covered under the Black Money Act, 2015, or persons notified under Special Court Act, 1992, or cases covered under Indian Penal Code, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

▼ Krishi Kalyan Surcharge   [03-21-16]

  • Domestic tax payers can declare undisclosed income or such income represented in the form of any asset by paying tax at 30%, and surcharge at 7.5% and penalty at 7.5%, which is a total of 45% of the undisclosed income.
  • There will be no scrutiny or enquiry regarding income declared in these declarations under the Income Tax Act or the Wealth Tax Act and the declarants will have immunity from prosecution. Immunity from Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988 is also proposed subject to certain conditions.
  • Surcharge levied at 7.5% of undisclosed income will be called Krishi Kalyan Surcharge to be used for agriculture and rural economy.
  • The compliance window is of 4 months. From 1st June 2016 to 30th September 2016.

▼ 2 New Cess introduced - Krishi Kalyan Cess and Infrastructure Cess   [03-21-16]

  • Government proposes to levy an infrastructure cess, of 1% on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars, 2.5% on diesel cars of certain capacity and 4% on other higher engine capacity vehicles and SUVs.
  • The Cess will be primarily used for funding pollution reduction and improve the traffic situation in the Indian cities.
  • Krishi Kalyan Cess, @ 0.5% will be levied on all taxable services, proceeds would be exclusively used for financing initiatives for improvement of agriculture and welfare of farmers
  • Clean Environment Cess is nothing but Clean Energy Cess which was there already. It was just renamed and not newly introduced.

▼ District Level Committees under Chairmanship of senior most Lok Sabha MP   [03-21-16]

  • District Level Committees under Chairmanship of senior most Lok Sabha MP from the district for monitoring and implementation of designated Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
  • Priority allocation from Centrally Sponsored Schemes to be made to reward villages that have become free from open defecation.

▼ Krishi Kalyan Cess   [03-21-16]

  • There will be a Cess, called the Krishi Kalyan Cess, @ 0.5% on all taxable services.
  • The proceeds of this would be exclusively used for financing initiatives relating to improvement of agriculture and welfare of farmers.
  • The Cess will come into force with effect from 1st June 2016.
  • Input Tax credit of this cess will be available for payment of this cess.
  • The effective rate of the Krishi Kalyan Cess, however, will be lower than 0.5 per cent as the government will provide input tax credit for the cess, as against no input tax credit for Swachh Bharat Cess.

▼ Initiatives for ensuring equitable benefit of MSP   [03-21-16]

Three specific initiatives will be taken up in 2016-17 to ensure that the benefit of MSP reaches farmers in all parts of the country

  • First, the remaining States will be encouraged to take up decentralized procurement.
  • Second, an online Procurement System will be undertaken through the Food Corporation of India. This will usher in transparency and convenience to the farmers through prior registration and monitoring of actual procurement.
  • Third, effective arrangements have been made for pulses procurement.

▼ Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana (DDUAY)   [03-21-16]

The programme comes under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (urban part of the scheme)

The urban component of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana will focus on -

  • Imparting skills with an expenditure of Rs.15,000 – Rs.18,000 on each urban poor;
  • Promotion of self-employment through setting up individual micro-enterprises and group enterprises with interest subsidy for individual projects costing Rs.2.00 lakhs and Rs.10.00 lakhs for group enterprises. Subsidized interest rate will be 7%;
  • Training urban poor to meet the huge demand from urban citizens by imparting market oriented skills through City Livelihood Centres. Each Centre would be given a capital grant of Rs.10.00 lakhs.
  • Enabling urban poor form Self-Help Groups for meeting financial and social needs with a support of Rs.10,000/- per each group who would in turn would be helped with bank linkages;
  • Development of vendor markets besides promotion of skills of vendors; and Construction of permanent shelters for urban homeless and provision of other essential services.

▼ Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana - Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana   [03-21-16]

  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana is an overarching scheme for uplift of urban and rural poor through enhancement of livelihood opportunities through skill development and other means.
  • SGSY has been renamed to NRLM which in turn is renamed as Aajeevika.
  • Aajeevika has a subcomponent for skill Development which is renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana.
  • Rural Development Ministry will handle the scheme in rural areas.
  • People of 15 years and above are eligible for this in rural areas. In the earlier Aajeevika skill Development subcomponent, the eligibility was 18 years.
  • It aims to train 10 lakh people by 2017.
  • Since there is an urgent need to focus on areas of drought and rural distress, from this year every block in these distress areas will be taken up as an intensive Block under the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mission.
  • The urban area scheme is managed by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

▼ Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region   [03-21-16]

  • To increase crop yields in rain fed areas, which account for nearly 55% of the country’s arable land, organic farming is being promoted.
  • Towards this end, the Government has launched two important schemes.
  • First, the ‘Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ which will bring 5 lakh acres under organic farming over a three year period. This will be all over India.
  • Second, the Government has launched a value chain based organic farming scheme called “Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region”. The emphasis is on value addition so that organic produce grown in these parts find domestic and export markets.

▼ Challenges to Indian economy   [03-21-16]

  • The risks of further global slo wdown and turbulence are mounting.
  • It has three serious implications for us. First, we must strengthen our firewalls against these risks by ensuring macro-economic stability and prudent fiscal management
  • Second, since foreign markets are weak, we must rely on domestic demand and Indian markets to ensure that India’s growth does not slow down.
  • And third, we must continue with the pace of economic reforms and policy initiatives to change the lives of our people for the better.
  • The 14th Finance Commission has reduced the Central share of taxes to 58% from the 68%. In the financial year 2015-16, we managed to improve upon the budgeted expenditure due to revenue buoyancy, notwithstanding the steep reduction in the Central share of taxes.
  • The next financial year 2016-17 will cast an additional burden on account of the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission and the implementation of Defence OROP.

▼ Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan   [03-21-16]

  • Panchayat Raj Institutions need to develop governance capabilities to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It is, therefore, proposed to launch a new restructured scheme, namely, Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan,
  • Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan has been proposed to speedup the overall rural development along with other budget allocations for Rural development.

▼ Open up road transport sector in passenger segment   [03-21-16]

  • Government will enact necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act and open up the road transport sector in the passenger segment.
  • An enabling eco-system will be provided for the States which will have the choice of adopting the new legal framework.
  • Entrepreneurs will be able to operate buses on various routes, subject to certain efficiency and safety norms.
  • The major benefits of this game changing initiative will be provision of more efficient public transport facilities, greater public convenience, new investment in this moribund sector, creation of new jobs for our youth, growth of start-up entrepreneurs and other multiplier effects. These measures will take us faster down the road to development.

▼ Fiscal Discipline   [03-21-16]

  • Successive committees have questioned the merit in having Plan and Non-Plan classification of Government expenditure.
  • A broad understanding over the years has been that Plan expenditures are good and Non-Plan expenditures are bad.
  • This results in skewed allocations in the Budget. There is need to give greater focus to Revenue and Capital classification of Government expenditure.
  • Therefore, decided that the Plan-Non-Plan classification will be done away with from fiscal 2017-18.
  • To improve the quality of Government expenditure, every new scheme being sanctioned by Government will have a sunset date and outcome review.

▼ DBT for fertilizers on pilot basis   [03-21-16]

  • With success of DBT for LPG, there is proposal to introduce it on a pilot basis for fertilizers, with a view to improving the quality of service delivery to farmers.
  • The fertilizers to be included among others are domestic urea, imported urea and decontrolled phosphoric and potassic fertilizers.

▼ Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat scheme   [03-21-16]

  • The "Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat" scheme draws inspiration from the life of India's freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” programme will be launched to link States and Districts in an annual programme that connects people through exchanges in areas of language, trade, culture, travel and tourism.
  • According to the scheme, two states will undertake a unique partnership for one year which would be marked by cultural and student exchanges.

▼ Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme   [03-21-16]

  • It is a Health Insurance Scheme for the welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.
  • There will be exemption of Service tax on general insurance services provided under ‘Niramaya’ Health Insurance Scheme launched by National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability.
  • Niramaya is conceived with the following objectives.
1. To provide affordable Health Insurance to persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities.
2. To encourage health services seeking behaviour among persons with developmental disability.
3. To improve the general health condition & quality of life of persons with developmental disability
  • Contribution Payable for Enrolment/ renewal
(i) Rs.250/- if family monthly income is up to Rs.15000/- pm.
(ii) Rs.500/- if family monthly income is above Rs.15000/- pm.
(iii) Only Renewal is free for BPL category.

▼ Clean Environment Cess   [03-21-16]

  • ‘Clean Energy Cess’ levied on coal, lignite and peat renamed to ‘Clean Environment Cess’.
  • Its rate is increased from Rs.200 per tonne to Rs.400 per tonne.

▼ Four dairying projects   [03-21-16]

  • To make dairying more remunerative to the farmers, four new projects will be taken up.
  • First, the ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’, an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards (‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’)
  • Second, an Advanced breeding technology
  • Third, Creation of ‘E-Pashudhan Haat’, an e market portal for connecting breeders and farmers
  • Fourth, a National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds.

▼ Nine pillars for transforming India   [03-21-16]

The nine pillars are –1. Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare: with focus on doubling farmers’ income in five years;
2. Rural Sector: with emphasis on rural employment and infrastructure;
3. Social Sector including Healthcare: to cover all under welfare and health services;
4. Education, Skills and Job Creation: to make India a knowledge based and productive society;
5. Infrastructure and Investment: to enhance efficiency and quality of life;
6. Financial Sector Reforms: to bring transparency and stability;
7. Governance and Ease of Doing Business: to enable the people to realize their full potential;
8. Fiscal Discipline: prudent management of Government finances and delivery of benefits to the needy; and
9. Tax Reforms: to reduce compliance burden with faith in the citizenry.

▼ New sustainability, customer experience initiatives by IR   [03-1-16]

  • Set up two chairs – one C T Venugopal chair on Strategic Finance, research and policy development and another Kalpana Chawla chair on geo-spatial technology.
  • Entertainment: propose to invite FM Radio stations for providing train borne entertainment; extend ‘Rail Bandhu’ to all reserved classes of travelers and in all regional languages.
  • Also IR will undertake energy audits for reducing energy consumption in non-traction area by 10% to 15%.

▼ Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres   [03-1-16]

    Pilgrimage centres are to be taken up on priority for provision of passenger amenities and beautification on stations at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco.
  • IR also intends to run Aastha circuit trains to connect important pilgrim centres.

▼ ‘Clean my Coach’ service through SMS.   [03-1-16]

  • IR is introducing ‘Clean my Coach’ service on Pan-India basis, where a passenger can request cleaning of his/her coach/toilets on demand through SMS.
  • Ranking of A1 and A classes of stations based on a regular periodic third party audit and feedback from passengers.
  • Setting up waste segregation and recycling centres at A1 category stations in a phased manner;
  • Undertaking ‘Awareness campaigns’ to improve cleanliness at select stations, station approach roads and adjacent colonies.
  • Installing additional 30,000 bio-toilets in the next financial year.
  • Providing portable structures with bio-toilets at all platforms of select stations to meet the demand of senior citizens, Divyang and women travellers.

▼ Ticketing improvements, benefits and Vikalp service by IR   [03-1-16]

  • Sale of tickets through hand held terminals;
  • e- ticketing facility to foreign debit/credit cards;
  • Bar coded tickets, scanners and access control on a pilot basis.
  • The ‘Vikalp’ (Alternative Train Accommodation System) scheme introduced in October 2015 will be expanded to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait-listed passengers.
  • E-booking of tickets facility on the concessional passes available to journalists;
  • Facility of cancellation through the 139 helpline post verification using ‘One Time Password’ sent on registered phone number,
  • To improve tatkaal services there will be CCTV cameras on windows and periodic audit of PRS website.

▼ Humsfar and Tejas for reserved passengers   [03-1-16]

  • Humsafar - fully air-conditioned third AC service with an optional service for meals.
  • Humsafar and Tejas to ensure cost recovery through tariff and non-tariff measures.
  • Tejas - will showcase the future of train travel in India. Tejas will operate at speeds of 130 kmph and above. It will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi, etc. through one service provider for ensuring accountability and improved customer satisfaction.

▼ For the unreserved passenger – Antyodaya Express and Deen Dayalu coaches   [03-1-16]

For the unreserved passenger – Antyodaya Express and Deen Dayalu coaches

  • IR proposes to introduce the Antyodaya Express, a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes.
  • IR will also add two to four Deen Dayalu coaches in some long distance trains for unreserved travel to enhance IR’s carrying capacity for the masses. These coaches will also have facility for potable drinking water and a higher number of mobile charging points.
  • Humsafar is for reserved passengers.

▼ National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara to be Rail University   [03-1-16]

  • Rail University to be established at Indian Railway Academy at Vadodara.
  • The National Academy of Indian Railways at Vadodara is the first institution which would be upgraded to a full-fledged university.

▼ UDAY and Tejas services for reserved passengers   [03-1-16]

  • UDAY - overnight double-decker, Utkrisht Double-Decker Air-conditioned Yatri Express on the busiest routes, has the potential to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.
  • Tejas - will showcase the future of train travel in India. Will operate at speeds of 130 kmph and above. It will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine, Wi-Fi, etc. through one service provider for ensuring accountability and improved customer satisfaction.

▼ 3 new freight corridors – north south, east west and east coast.   [03-1-16]

  • The country will get three new dedicated freight corridors, according to the Railway Budget 2016, in addition to the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata freight corridors that are due to be commissioned in 2019.
  • The new projects are a North-South corridor, from Delhi to Chennai, an East-West corridor from Kharaghpur to Mumbai and an East Coast corridor, from Kharagpur to Vijayawada.
  • Delhi-Chennai has been identified as corridor for auto transportation.
  • The projects will be financed through a PPP (public private partnership) mechanism and rolled out on a high priority basis.

▼ India’s first Rail auto hub in Chennai   [03-1-16]

  • India’s first rail auto hub will be inaugurated in Chennai.
  • This is to capture the automobile traffic.
  • In order to complete the chain of transportation, it is proposed to develop Rail side logistics parks and warehousing.
  • These logistic parks and warehouses would be created in PPP mode to bring the required efficiency and investment but also help attract greater traffic to the Railways. With the coming in of TRANSLOC, the Transport Logistics Company of India, IR will be witness to a paradigm shift in our role as a national logistics provider. The focus will be on providing last mile connectivity for freight business and significant reduction in logistic costs.
  • At least 10 goods sheds will be developed by TRANSLOC in 2016-17.

▼ Janani Sewa and travel insurance by IR   [03-1-16]

  • Janani sewa: children’s menu items on trains, baby foods, hot milk and hot water would be made available. Changing boards for babies would be provided in train toilets.
  • Travel Insurance to passengers - to offer optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking.

▼ New features and measures introduced for Divyang by IR   [03-1-16]

For the Divyang, IR introduced:

  • One-time registration for availing concessions while booking tickets online.
  • Online booking of wheelchairs.
  • Braille enabled new coaches.
  • all stations under redevelopment accessible by Divyang
  • to provide at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year and also ensure availability of wheelchairs in sufficient numbers at these stations.

▼ World’s first Bio-Vacuum toilet in Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express   [03-1-16]

  • World’s first Bio-Vacuum toilet was developed by IR and is being used in Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express.
  • It is in pursuance of mission Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat.

▼ SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches for railways   [03-1-16]

  • SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) Coaches - design and layout of our coaches to ensure higher carrying capacity and provision of new amenities including automatic doors, bar-code readers, bio-vacuum toilets, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomic seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens, LED lit boards for advertising, PA system.
  • These new SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches would cater to emerging needs of our customers and also ensure lower unit cost of operations due to higher carrying capacity.

▼ Rail Mitra Seva from Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway.   [03-1-16]

  • Rail Mitra Sewa: to help the old and disabled passengers, strengthening the existing services for enabling passengers to book battery operated cars, porter services, etc. on a paid basis in addition to the existing pick up and drop, and wheel chair services.
  • It is expanded from Sarathi Seva in Konkan Railway.

▼ Porters are sahayaks   [03-1-16]

  • Porters play a key role in making our journeys comfortable. IR intends to provide them with new uniforms and train them in soft skills in line with the evolving image of IR, adopting modern technology yet traditional in its ethos of treating passengers with respect.
  • IR will also explore methods of offering them group insurance facility.
  • They will be called as sahayak.

▼ Mission Zero Accident - Elimination of unmanned level crossings and Train Collision Avoidance System   [03-1-16]

  • Mission Zero Accident: Two specific sub missions would form part of this overall mission.

    i. Elimination of unmanned level crossings: 40% of our accidents and 68% of deaths on IR takes place at level crossings. Besides, these crossings also lead to drop in speed and hence impact the throughput of the network. We intend to eliminate all unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge in the next 3-4 years for which innovative financing mechanisms are being developed.

    ii. TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System): To prevent head on collisions, we have now developed an indigenous technology which also leads to increased throughput by increasing average sectional speeds. We intend to equip 100% of the High Density Network with TCAS in the next 3 years.

▼ 7 missions under Avataran   [03-1-16]

  • Missions will be headed by a Mission Director reporting directly to the Chairman, Railway Board and heading a cross functional team empowered to take all relevant decisions for a timely targeted delivery.
  • Mission 25 Tonne for 25 tonne axle load, Mission Zero Accident for safety, Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency), Mission Raftaar for higher speeds, Mission Hundred for commissioning 100 sidings/ freight terminals, Mission beyond book-keeping for accounting reforms, Mission Capacity Utilisation to prepare a blueprint for making use of the capacity created once DFC is commissioned.
  • Mission Hundred: 85% of traffic on IR originates from private sidings and freight terminals. There are more than 400 proposals under various stages of approvals. In the next 2 years IR will commission at least a hundred sidings. The current siding/ PFT policy would be revised to elicit greater private participation and an online portal will be operated for accepting and processing all new applications, along with decentralization of powers.
  • Mission beyond book-keeping: Being a Government undertaking, IR does not follow practices in accounting which aid detailed assessment of unit costs. Though IR are moving from single entry to double entry systems and from cash based to completely accrual based accounting, they are not great reforms. As a thriving commercial entity, IR needs to go a step further and establish an accounting system where outcomes can be tracked to inputs. This is a structural change which forms the bedrock of transformation, as right accounting would determine right costing and hence right pricing and right outcomes. They intend taking up its implementation over Railways in a mission mode and complete the entire roll out in next few years.
  • Mission Capacity Utilisation: The two Dedicated Freight Corridors are scheduled to be commissioned by 2019. These would create huge capacity for carrying freight traffic between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata. Shifting of goods trains from existing tracks to the new corridors would also release a great deal of capacity which would help upscale the nature of passenger services on these trunk routes. It is proposed to prepare a blueprint for making full use of this huge new capacity no sooner than it is commissioned.

▼ Mission PACE of Avataran   [03-1-16]

  • Mission PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency): To capture significant savings and improvement in the quality of goods and services, IR needs to bring procurement practices in line with international best practices.
  • The process will involve challenging our consumption norms and assimilating a culture of optimum usage by adopting practices such as Vendor Managed Inventory, direct procurement of HSD, etc.
  • IR is carrying out a comprehensive review of procurement and consumption of HSD including arresting leakages and aim to save more than Rs 1,500 crore in 2016-17.
  • IR will also bring in new procedures for identification and disposal of scrap.

▼ Mission 25 tonne and Mission Raftaar of Avataran   [03-1-16]

  • Throughput of the railway system is an outcome of tonnage and speed. Complementing Mission 25 tonne would be Mission Raftaar.
  • Mission Raftaar - It will target doubling average speeds of freights trains and increasing the average speed of superfast mail/express trains by 25 kmph in the next 5 years.
  • Mission 25 Tonne – To realise the goal of revenue enhancement, IR needs to augment carrying capacity. A critical step in that direction is making IR infrastructure suitable to carry 25-tonne axle load. It is proposed to introduce 10-20% freight loading through 25-tonne axle-load wagons in 2016-17 and target movement of 70% of freight traffic on high axle load wagons by FY19-20.

▼ Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement (SRESTHA) R&D unit of railways   [03-1-16]

  • IR to set up a R&D organization, a Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement, ‘SRESTHA.’
  • RDSO will now focus only on day to day issues while SRESTHA would drive long term research.
  • SRESTHA would be headed by an eminent scientist reporting directly to Chairman, Railway Board and would be staffed with scientists and a limited number of Railway experts. RDSO functioning will be made totally transparent with time bound results.

▼ Rakshak devices for gang men   [03-1-16]

  • IR will provide gang men with devices called ‘Rakshak’ for intimating them about approaching trains.
  • Indian Railways will also reduce the weight of the tools carried by them while patrolling on foot through value engineering.

▼ Complete packages by IR for tiger awareness   [03-1-16]

  • To spread awareness about our National Animal, the Tiger, complete packages including train journey, safaris and accommodation to cover the wildlife circuit comprising Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh will be offered.
  • These are known for Tiger conservation.

▼ Vision and objectives till 2020 for Indian Railways.   [03-1-16]

  • By 2020, long-felt desires of the common man are to be fulfilled i.e, reserved accommodation on trains available on demand, time tabled freight trains, high end technology to improve safety record, elimination of all unmanned level crossings, improved punctuality, higher average speed of freight trains, semi high speed trains running along the golden quadrilateral, zero direct discharge of human waste.

▼ Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New Norms, Nav Sanrachna – New Structures   [03-1-16]

  • Three pillars of the strategy i.e. Nav Arjan – New revenues, Nav Manak – New Norms, Nav Sanrachna – New Structures.
  • Nav Arjan – New revenues: Challenge our conventional thinking on freight policies to win back our share in the transportation sector. IR will exploit new sources of revenue so that every asset, tangible or non-tangible, gets optimally monetized.
  • Nav Manak – New norms: Each rupee that gets expensed will be re-examined to ensure optimal productivity. IR will take a ‘zero-based budgeting’ approach to the financials of the ensuing year.
  • Nav Sanrachna – New Structures: IR needs to re-imagine the conventional ways of solving issues. Co-operation, Collaboration, Creativity and Communication should be the hallmark of IR’s decision-making and actions. IR will revisit all processes, rules, and structures to enable this transformation of IR.