Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hollande visits typhoon-hit Philippine town

Francois Hollande visits typhoon-hit Philippine town Updated on : 27-02-2015 11:32 AM
French President Francois Hollande on Friday visited a remote Philippine town devastated by one of the world's strongest typhoons, seeking to sound a global alarm on climate change ahead of a crucial UN summit.

Hollande is on a two-day trip to the Southeast Asian archipelago, regarded as a frontline state in the struggle against global warming, as part of his campaign to build diplomatic momentum ahead of the Paris summit in December.

On Thursday, Hollande launched an appeal with Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Manila for world leaders meeting in Paris to secure a "universal, equitable and ambitious climate deal" that would avert catastrophic global warming.

Their appeal offered a show of unity they said could serve as a model for rich and poor nations, whose divisions led to a similar effort at a UN summit in Copenhagen in 2009 ending in disarray.

"We have a duty to act together and that's why I came here to the Philippines, to launch an appeal, to seal an alliance." Hollande said on Thursday.

Hollande then flew to Guiuan, a small coastal town in the far eastern Philippines of about 50,000 people that is still trying to recover from Super Typhoon Haiyan 15 months ago.

Guiuan was among the first towns hit when Super Typhoon Haiyan roared in off the Pacific Ocean with winds of 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour, the strongest gales ever recorded on land.

Haiyan then swept across already deeply impoverished farming and fishing communities of the central Philippines, claiming more than 7,350 lives.

Rebuilding those communities is expected to take many years and cost billions of dollars.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of typhoon survivors will continue to live in danger zones along the coast and remain extremely vulnerable to future storms.

The Philippines endures about 20 major storms or typhoons every year but scientists say they are getting stronger and more unpredictable because of climate change.

In their joint appeal on Thursday, Hollande and Aquino highlighted that people in the Philippines had "endured an unprecedented series of extreme weather events in the last few years".

"We are reminded that while the developing countries have contributed least to climate change, they are the ones that suffer the most from climate change impacts." the appeal stated.

Budget only favouring Corporate sector: Congress

The Congress today said the general budget is not dynamaic and only favouring the Corporate sector. Senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters outside Parliament that no special attention has been paid to economically backward sections of the country. He said instead of budget, it seems only a vision document of the government.

BSP Chief Ms Mayawati termed the Budget as impractical. She said that the budget is only for Corpoprates and not for the poor.

NCP leader Tariq Anwar described the budget as an anti-poor and anti-common man.

Moreover Biju Janata Dal parliamentary party leader Bhatruhari Mahtab said the budget is corportate driven. Speaking exclusively to All India Radio, Mr Mahtab said budget will create large number of disparity in the society.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Statement By Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia X Group CEO
27th February 2015

Since taking the helm as Group CEO of AirAsia X earlier this month, the new management team and I have been reviewing all aspects of the business to ensure that we have the best product and services in place for our guests.

During this process, we found an issue with our current refund system, which we had outgrown due to our rapid expansion. The situation was unfortunately been exasperated by the QZ8501 incident as well as the unforeseen delay in the Denpasar – Melbourne route approval, which has caused a backlog in the refund process.

We are now in the process of migrating our refund process to our global shared services office in Penang. Once the migration is completed on 16 March, our centralized refund team will be able to process the refund requests in less than 45 business days (excluding processing time from customers’ merchant banks).

We are also taking additional measures to improve productivity and to add convenience and comfort to our guests’ travel experience. To start, we have set up a task force led by our newly appointed Group Head of Corporate Quality, Customer Support & Innovation, Mimi Phua.

Mimi will be responsible for spearheading a series of improvements and modifications including the development of a new platform that will enable all of our guests to track their refunds both online and on mobile devises.  The platform is currently scheduled to launch in July of this year.

We sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused to our valued guests. As a token of our appreciation for their continued patience, we will be offering a $50 AUD e-gift voucher to all guests that have yet to receive their refunds.  The e-gift vouchers will be valid for use towards any AirAsia X (D7, XT or XJ) flights. 

Please stay tuned for updates on our innovations as we continue to strive to deliver only the best. For any inquiries on outstanding refunds, guests can email their PNR (booking number) to .


Kamarudin Meranun
Group CEO, AirAsia X
JLN Stadium is ready to witness a historic ‘VIRAT HINDU SAMMELAN’ on 1st
Exhibitions, stalls & eminent personalities will mark the event
New Delhi, February 27th, 2015. On the occasion of its Golden Jubilee celebrations, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, is attempting to create a history in Delhi on Sunday (1st March 2015). According to the reports pouring in from different parts of NCR, it appears that Virat Hindu Sammelan scheduled at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will have many unique features never before, said shri Gurdin Prasad Rustagi, convener of the program. It will have representation of all walks of life and many national & international prestigious dignitaries will address the august gathering. Top saints, spiritual gurus and highest body of VHP will be seen on the dais. Participants of the Sammelan will have privilege to watch many exhibitions and stalls apart from getting inspired to donate eye, blood and body organs at the same place.
            Detailing about the program, spokesperson VHP Delhi shri Vinod Bansal said that the program would begin with hoisting of flag and worshiping cow by eminent Saints, social workers and top VHP leaders. Renowned poet Gajendra Solanki will grace the occasion with his patriotic poems and Baba Satya Narayan Maurya will conduct Bharat Mata Aarti in his great musical manner. Sanskrit Bharati, Art of Living, Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society, Suruchi Prakashan and Saksham, will put their stalls and exhibitions. Delegates may pledge to donate their eye, blood and body organs through Dadhichi Deh Dan Samittee. Cow devotees will be able to directly connect with the issues and programmes related to cow brands and other related products to the real service of cow. The exhibition of Hindu Helpline and India Health-line will explain how these two are getting vital to the hindu society for up-liftment of poor & needy in the country.
            The whole compound area has been divided into ten zones named after great national heros. It will have a capacity to accommodate around one lakh people. For swift and smooth reach of the vehicles to the venue, six types of parking & traffic stickers have been distributed according to the geographic location of the national capital region. As per the reports pouring in thousands of delegates are coming across the boarders of Delhi. Residents of Bahadurgarh, Sonepat, Faridabad, Ghaziabad & Noida may also witness the large gathering, he added.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati ji Maharaj, Mahamandaleshwar Swami Satyamitranand Giri ji Maharaj, Gita Manishi Swami Gyananand ji Maharaj, Pujya Sant Tarun Sagar ji Maharaj, Buddhist Saint Lama Tyogdan Rimpoche ji Maharaj from Ladakh, Shri Sudhanshu Ji Maharaj from Vishwajagriti Mission along with Joint General secretary-RSS, Sh. Suresh Soni, VHP petron Shri Ashok Singhal, Int’l President Shri Raghav Reddy, working president Dr. Praveen Bhai Togadia, vice president Rajmata Chandrakanta ji, Organising Gen sec, Shri Dinesh Chandra, senior MP Dr. Subramanian Swami and the national convener of Bajrang Dal shri Rajesh Pandey, may address the gathering. 
Yours sincerely,
Vinod Bansal,
प्रैस विज्ञप्ति:


Contact : 9810974027
A Govt of India Scheme.
Respected Sir/Madam,
Government of India in the Union Budget 2014-2015, announced the revival of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana(VPBY). Excerpts from Budget speech by Hon'ble Finance Minister are, NDA Government during its last term in office had introduced the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana(VPBY) as a pension scheme for senior citizens. Under the scheme a total number of 3.16 lakh annuitants are being benefited and corpus amounts to Rs.6,095 Crore. I propose to revive the scheme for a limited period from 15th August 2014 to 14th August 2015 for the benefit of citizens aged 60 years and above

To fulfil the promise made by Finance Minister in his budget speech, the Govt. of India has launched Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana on 14th August, 2014 in association with LIC of India. LIC of India has been given the sole privilege to operate this scheme. Benefits of this scheme are as under :
Benefits :Pension Payment : During the lifetime of Pensioner, a pension in the form of immediate annuity as per mode chosen by the Pensioner shall be payable.

Death Benefit: On death of the Pensioner the Purchase Price shall be refunded.

Eligibility Conditions and Other Restrictions:
  • a) Minimum age to take the policy is 60 Years
  • b) Maximum age to take the policy is No Limit
  • c) Minimum sum assured is 66,665 Rs./-
  • d) Maximum Sum Assured Amount is 6,66,665 Rs./-
  • e) Pension Payment to the Policy Holder is Yearly, Half Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly
  • f) The pension payment to the pensioner is done through ECS / NEFT only.
The plan can be purchased by payment of a lump sum Purchase Price. The pensioner has an option to choose either the amount of pension or the Purchase Price.

The minimum and maximum Purchase Price under different modes of pension will be as under :
Mode of PensionMinimum Purchase PriceMaximum Pruchase Price
The pension rates for Rs.1,00,000/- Purchase Price for different modes of pension payments are as below :
Yearly9380/- p.a.
Half-yearly9170/- p.a.
Intrest Rate: 9.38% per annum approximately.
Taxes : As per Tax laws.
Surrender value: The VPBY Pension plan can be surrendered after 15 years.
Loan: Loan facility is available after completion of 3 policy years. The maximum loan that can be granted shall be 75% of the Purchase Price.
Life Insurance Corporation of India, Northern Zonal Office, New Delhi
Contact your agent/branch or
visit our website
or SMS 'CITY' to 56767474 ( e.g.MUMBAI)
Daler Mehndi Wins the Best Live Performer Award from GiMA

February 24th, 2015 witnessed the 5th annual GiMA awards where The Indian king of pop, Daler Mehndi was called upon stage by Mika Singh to be graced with the Best Live Performer award. This is the first time GiMA has included best live performer category. Paaji was honored to receive the award and even sung a song which everyone crooned along to.  

The singer was extremely pleased to see that veterans of Indian classical music were honored at the event. He greeted and met stalwarts such as Harsiprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Jasraj, Zakir Hussain and Anandji of Kalyanji-Anandji fame.

Upon being asked where the future was headed and whether Indian music will be the same, he replied, “Indian musical roots are spread across various influences and genres. I am very keen on experimenting with Sufi music. I plan on mixing the elements of Sufi with pop music; I think it will make an interesting combination that has not been tried before. Whenever I perform, people always request me to play a Sufi song on a pop concert or vice versa. It has got me thinking and I am working towards the collaboration of two to make something superbly unique.”

Daler Mehndi, who has often been critically acclaimed for his deep roots in musical knowledge and has made several contributions in different genres such as Indi-pop, Bhangra, Sufi, Bhangra Rock, Gurbani and Bollywood to name a few. He has made waves in the Indian pop industry and is continuing to do so with a world tour lined up this year.

 In its continuous service to the Indian music industry, GiMA continues to add gems to the crown of the Indian musical milestones. We witness a large addition to this crown, with what we would call the crown gem of Indian pop, Daler Mehndi.
British Airways' owners have confirmed a 265% rise in annual profits to £601m
STAR PLUS honors the spirit of women with their show Anmol Hai Tu- Nayi Soch Ko Salaam”
A unique show that celebrates womanhood and aims to empower the women ~
Mumbai, 26th February 2015Every year on International Women’s Day one witnesses multiple discussions over various issues plaguing Indian women today. Star Plus has explored women through their women centric Nayi Soch shows and captured the emotions of audience and promoted women independence. This year, STAR Plus has attempted to salute the spirit of the women with their new initiative - Anmol Hai Tu - Nayi Soch ko Salaam.

From the progress women have made, to the dreams they have for the future, Star Plus will celebrate and show gratitude to the women who have endured the trials and tribulations of a hard life, risen from the ashes like phoenix, set in motion the wheels of change and breathed life into a movement that has impacted the lives of others. On Sunday, March 8th at 9.00 PM, Star Plus will recognize and honour women who refused to let society defeat their indomitable spirit and through their stories of triumph convey information that will empower many others like them.

Hosted by a lady who best represents today’s strong, powerful and successful achiever – Huma Qureshi, ‘Anmol Hai Tu- Nayi Soch Ko Salaam’ will honour 5 women who have dedicated their lives for a movement that has played a crucial part in the upliftment and betterment of not only women but also society at large.

Huma will be seen interacting with women achievers who dared to bring about a change and through their stories and experiences share information - guidelines, laws & helplines to create awareness and empower women. The show will be interspersed with issue-centric performances creatively presented by well-known artists like Sanjeeda Sheikh, Mouni Roy, Ritwik Dhanjani, Sargun Mehta and Shakti Mohan amongst others.

Watch ‘Anmol Hai Tu- Nayi Soch Ko Salaam’ airing this International Women’s Day, Sunday, 8th March at 9.00 PM only on STAR Plus!
Prabhunovation seeks turnaround in railways


Railway Budget for the current year is novel in many ways. Departing from the usual routine of emphasising on laying of new tracks and raising passenger fares and prescribing slabs for freight rates, this year’s budgetary proposals concentrated more on the strategy for improving passenger service, amenities and safety; capacity expansion; decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding up of trains; modernisation through extensive use of information technology; deployment of solar and renewable energy and waste management.

The Railway Budget is a part of trilogy of documents tabled in Parliament that includes a White Paper revealing the current status of country’s railways and Vision-2030 document that would soon follow. The Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has come out with a five-year action plan to transform the ailing Indian Railways that entails an investment of Rs 8,56,020 crore. The mega investment is slated to be mobilised from multiple sources like multilateral development banks, pension funds. Railways intends to partner with key stakeholders like state governments, public sector corporations, multilateral and bi-lateral organisation and other national governments to gain access to long-term financing and technology from overseas. Indian Railways is opened for 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in various sectors while retaining its overall ownership. It has also invited domestic private sector to improve the last mile connectivity, expand the fleet of rolling stock and modernisation of station infrastructure. It also sought partnership of Members of Parliament for sourcing from MP Local Area Development Fund and municipal corporations wherever necessary.

The private-public partnership (PPP) cell of Railways will be revamped to make it result oriented, “Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation scheme” will be launched. Joint ventures will be set up with States for focused project development, resource mobilization, land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects. In order to meet the requirements of new lines JVs will also be set up with major public sector customers.

Without putting much pressure on the common man, Prabhu intends to mobilise funds for modernising the railway infrastructure. His predecessors had made some humble attempts but had not met with much success. The Railway Minister intends not to depend upon gross budgetary support (GBS) or extra budgetary support from the general exchequer and seek innovative ways of raising funds. However, he has been able arrest the fall in Annual Plan size of the Railways and raise it by to 52% to be at Rs 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16. Out of this 41.6% resources will come from Central Government support while 17.8 % will be generated from internal resources. 

Revamping management practices, systems, processes, and re-tooling of human resources will be taken up by the Railways to achieve targeted operating ratio for 2015-16 at 88.5%. Fast decision making, tight accountability, improved management information systems and better training and development of human resource will also be part of the action plan to achieve the goals.

If it is the Modinomics that is laying the foundation of new economic agenda, it is Prabhu’s innovative strategy that can be called “Prabhunovation” that seeks to bring a turnaround in Indian Railways.   

Critics say that the Railway Minister in his annual budget has not prescribed any timeline, but Prabhu’s strategy needs to be understood as part of the five-year vision plan.

The annual budget has not seen any hike in passenger fare, giving much relief to the common man. But basic freight rates of cement, coal, grains and pulses, urea, scrap and pig iron, slag, groundnut oil, bitumen and coal tar have been hiked in the range of 2.1% to 10%. The hikes in the case of iron or steel, iron ore (produced in the country) and kerosene has been marginal and limited to only 0.8%, while that of limestone, dolomite and manganese and high speed diesel oil have been marginally decreased. It is evident that cross subsidization of passenger fares by freight rate still continues.

The Railway Minister’s decision not to hike passenger fare has a rationale. The estimated diesel traction of Rs 24,220 crore out of the total estimated fuel cost of Rs 35,046 crore can be revised downwards due to the fall in global prices. Prabhu has been wise not to effect any hike in passenger fares.

Not that Prabhu has kept the development works in abeyance till resources are mobilised. Seventy seven projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with electrification, covering almost all states, at a cost of Rs. 96,182 crore will be taken up. Traffic facility works a top priority with outlay of Rs. 2374 crore have been proposed. In order to accelerate the pace of Railway electrification, 6,608 route kilometres will be sanctioned for 2015-16, an increase of 1330% over the previous year.

As per the Budget proposal, the speed of 9 railway corridors will be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively so that inter-metro journeys like Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai can be completed overnight. Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains.

In order to make ticketing more passenger friendly the Budget proposes “operation five minutes” for issuing unreserved tickets, hot buttons, coin vending machines, concessional e-tickets for differently abled travelers, for booking tickets a multi-lingual e-portal  will be developed. Crediting of refunds through banks and unreserved tickets on Smart phones will be available. Proliferation of automatic ticket vending machines with smart cards and currency options, integrated ticketing system on the lines of rail-cum-road tickets, Defence Travel System developed for elimination of Warrants have also been proposed in the Budget.

The Budget has proposed e-catering to select meals from an array of choices. Ordering food through IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets; integrating best food chains into this project; setting up of Base Kitchens in specified divisions to be run by reputed agencies for serving quality food and expansion of water vending machines will be taken up.

Hand-held terminals to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs) for verification of passengers will now be provided for verification of passengers, possibility of extending facility of SMS on mobiles as a valid proof of travel for PRS tickets will be explored. A centrally managed Railway Display Network in over 2000 stations in next two years will be included besides  “SMS Alert” service to inform passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations.

For the safety of women passengers surveillance cameras will be provided on a pilot basis in selected mainline coaches and ladies’ compartments of suburban coaches.

The Railways will also take up a project for introducing on-board entertainment on select Shatabdi trains; Mobile phone charging facilities will be provided in general class coaches & will be increased in sleeper class coaches.

The Railways has proposed to revamp its station development policy completely and simplifies process for faster development by inviting open bids. It has proposed to develop 10 Satellite Railway terminals in major cities with twin purpose of decongesting the city and providing services to suburban passengers.

Now, 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations; facility of self-operated lockers will be available at stations. Passenger capacity in identified trains will be augmented; more General class coaches will be added in identified trains. The Railways has also approached NID to design user friendly ladders for climbing upper berths. It has also proposed more quota of lower berths for senior citizens. TTEs will now be instructed to help senior citizens, pregnant women and differently-abled persons in obtaining lower berths; middle bay of coaches to be reserved for women and senior citizen.  Provision of Rs. 120 crore has been made for Lifts and escalator; newly manufactured coaches will now be Braille enabled; building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers; allocation for passenger amenities up by 67%.

Rail Budget has also proposed Coastal Connectivity Program in partnership with ports for Nargol, Chharra, Dighi, Rewas and Tuna. Besides this, projects worth Rs 2500 crore will be taken up through BOT/ Annuity route. These include Wardha- Nagpur 3rd line, Kazipet-Vijaywada 3rd line, Bhadrak –Nargundi 3rd line and Bhuj- Nalia Gauge Conversion.

The Budget proposes constituting an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways besides setting up of Technology portal to invite innovative technological solutions. Four Railway Research Centers in select universities for fundamental research have also been proposed besides ‘Malaviya Chair’ for Railway Technology at IIT (BHU), Varanasi.

Declaring safety of paramount importance for Railways, an action plan has been proposed for accident prone areas. The Budget also proposes 970 ROB/RUBs and other safety-related works to eliminate 3438 level crossings at a total expense of Rs. 6,581 crore, 2600% higher than the previous year. Train Protection Warning System and Train Collision Avoidance System will be installed on select routes at the earliest.

In order to make travel on Indian Railways a happy experience, the Budget has given thrust on Cleanliness and proposes a new department for keeping stations and trains clean under Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. New toilets will be built at 650 additional stations; online booking of disposable bed rolls will be made available. 24X7 helpline number 138;toll-free number 182 for security related complaints have also been proposed in the budget.

According to some estimates, Railways need Rs 50,000 crore yearly for the next ten years to complete all ongoing projects. Add to this is Prabhu’s new agenda. Much has been talked about Modinomics paving the way for new economic agenda. It is also time to watch Prabhunovation in action.

(Ashok B Sharma is a senior Columnist writing on strategic and policy issues in several Indian and international newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at His mobile phone number +91-9010902204)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

 Highlights of the Railway Budget 2015-16
Focus on cleanliness, safety and quality of life in journey

The budget highlighted the four goals for Indian Railways over next five years which include delivering a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience, making Railways a safer means of travel, expanding Bhartiya Rail’s capacity substantially and modernising infrastructure and making Bhartiya Rail financially self-sustainable. It also stated five key drivers for execution strategy which includes adopting a medium term perspective, building partnerships with key stake holders to gain access to long term financing and technology from overseas, the private sector to improve last mile connectivity, expand fleet of rolling stock and modernize our station infrastructure, leveraging additional resources, revamping management practices, systems, processes and re-tooling of human resources and setting standards of Governance and Transparency.

Snapshot of Railway Budget 2015-16

The budget stated the proposed investment plan for the period 2015-2019 amounting to Rs. 8,56,020 crore, which will facilitate network expansion, network decongestion, safety, research, passenger amenities, high speed rails and elevated corridors and station redevelopment and logistics parks.

Amount (Rs in crore)
Network Decongestion
Network Expansion (including electrification)
National Projects (North Eastern & Kashmir connectivity projects)
Information Technology / Research
Rolling Stock
Passenger Amenities
High Speed Rail & Elevated corridor
Station redevelopment and logistic parks
Source: Railway Budget 2015-16, Ministry of Railways, Government of India

Quality of life in journeys—The major thrust areas of action plan focuses on establishing a new department for cleanliness “Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat” and “Bio toilets”, 24X7 helpline number and issuing unreserved tickets, coin vending machines, concessional e-tickets for differently abled travellers, developing a multi-lingual e-portal, etc. “SMS Alert” service informing passengers in advance of the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations. Introducing centrally managed Railway Display Network in over 2000 stations in next two years. Further, 200 more stations to come under Adarsh Station scheme; Wi - Fi to be provided at B category stations, online booking of wheel chair on payment basis for senior citizens, patients and the differently-abled passengers through IRCTC on select stations

Station Redevelopment-- Station redevelopment policy to be revamped and processes to be simplified

Network Expansion-- Decongesting networks with basket of traffic generating projects priority; priority to last mile connectivity projects ; fast track sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs. 8686 crore, 84% higher Y-O-Y. Further, acceleration of pace of Railway electrification, 6,608 route kilometers sanctioned for 2015-16 ,an increase of 1330% over the previous year.

Expansion of freight handling capacity --Transport Logistics Corporation of India (TRANSLOC), to be set up for developing common user facilities with handling and value-added services to provide end-to-end logistics solution at select Railway terminals through Public Private Partnerships.

Improving train speed--Speed of 9 railway corridors to be increased from existing 110 and 130 kmph to 160 and 200 kmph respectively. Average speed of freight trains in empty and loaded conditions, will be enhanced to 100 kmph for empty freight trains and 75 kmph for loaded trains; loading density on all major freight bearing routes to be upgraded to 22.82 tonne axle loads.

Bullet train--Feasibility study for High Speed Rail between Mumbai-Ahmadabad is in advanced stage and report expected by the mid of this year. For other high speed routes on the diamond quadrilateral,studies are being commissioned.

Safety--Action plan being prepared for areas where accidents occur and five-year corporate safety plan by June 2015 indicating annual quantifiable targets. Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to develop a suitable device with reliable power supply system based on theft-proof panels/batteries in consultation with Indian Space Research Organization, using geo-spatial technology for providing audio-visual warning to road users at unmanned level crossings; radio based signal design project been taken up with IIT Kanpur for warnings at unmanned level crossing.

Technology Upgradation--Constituting an innovation council called “Kayakalp” for business re-engineering and introducing a spirit of innovation in Railways. Further, technology portal being constituted to invite innovative technological solutions. IT vision to be unveiled, information on latest berth availability station navigation system, bar coded/ Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking of parcels and freight wagons, automated parcel warehouses. Integration of train control and asset management applications.

Partnerships for development Public Private Partnership (PPP) cell to be revamped to make it result oriented.  Projects for rail connectivity to many ports and mines being developed. Further, Foreign Rail Technology Cooperation scheme” to be launched. Joint ventures to be set up with States for focused project development, resource mobilization,land acquisition, project implementation and monitoring of critical rail projects.

Resource Mobilisation-- Plan Budget up by 52% from Rs. 65,798 crore to Rs. 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16. Support from the Central Government 41.6% of the Plan and Internal generation 17.8 %. Further, setting up of a Financing Cell in the Railway Board. Setting up an infrastructure fund, a holding company and a JV with an existing NBFC of a PSU with Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), for raising long term debt from domestic as well as overseas sources, including multilateral and bilateral financial institutions.

Energy and sustainability --Environment Directorate to be constituted and detailed energy audit for energy saving.  Procuring power through the bidding process which is likely to save at least Rs. 3,000 crore in next few years. 1000 MW solar plants will be set up by the developers on Railway/private land and Railway buildings with subsidy/viability gap funding support of Ministry of Non-Renewable Energy in next five years.

Transparency and Governance initiatives --System of on-line applications introduced and e-procurement value chain being expanded. Constituting a mechanism for making regulations, setting performance standards, determining tariffs & adjudicating disputes among licensees/private partners and the Ministry, subject to review in appeal.

Social initiatives --Infrastructure to be made available for skill development and promotion of products made by Self Help Groups, consisting mainly of women and youth on the model of Konkan Railway.

Tourism --Incredible Rail for Incredible India to be launched and training of auto-rickshaw and taxi-operators as tourist-guides on the model of Konkan Railway.  Coaches in select trains connecting major tourist destinations to travel agencies may be offered on a revenue sharing model.  Gandhi circuit to be used to attract tourists to mark the occasion of 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa; IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme for farmers for farming & marketing technique centres. 

Budget Estimates for 2015-16-- Passenger earnings growth is pegged at 16.7% with a target budget at Rs. 50,175 crore. Freight traffic is pegged at an all time high incremental traffic of 85 million tonnes, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of economy. Other coaching and sundries are projected at Rs. 4,612 crore and Rs. 7,318 crore. Gross Traffic Receipts has been estimated at Rs 1,83,578 crore with a growth of 15.3%. Appropriation to Pension Fund proposed at Rs 35,260 crore and appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF) at Rs 8,100 crore. Appropriation of Rs 7,616 crore proposed to be made to Capital Fund for payment of principal component of lease charges to IRFC (Indian Railway Finance Corporation). The plan outlay stands at Rs 1,00,011 crore for the year 2015-16 with an increase of 52% over RE 2014-15.