Rail Budget forward-looking: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday hailed as “forward-looking” the Rail Budget which has proposed hike in passenger fares in various ranges in different categories. “The Railway Minister has presented a forward-looking budget with emphasis on safety and modernisation of the Indian Railways,” Singh said in a statement.

He said the budget has been formulated against the background of the Railways` responsibilities in meeting the demands of the 12th Five Year Plan. Presenting his first budget, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi announced hike in passenger fares ranging from 2 paisa (1 INR= 100 paise; 1 USD= 49.82 INR) per kilometre to 30 paisa per kilometre in various categories of trains while noting that the Railways was passing through a “difficult phase”.

He also announced introduction of 75 express trains, 21 passenger trains and extension of 39 trains besides increase in the frequency of 23 trains. Platform tickets have also been raised from Rs 3 to Rs 5.