The highlights of the Rail Budget 2012-13 are as under:

* Target of reducing accidents from 0.55 to 0.17 has been met.

* Special purpose vehicle to be set up on safety protocols.

* Independent railway safety authority to be set up as statutory safety body.

* Investment of Rs.5.60 lakh crore required for modernisation.

* Railways to invest Rs.7.35 lakh crore during 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), a quantum jump from the Rs.1.92 lakh crore invested in previous plan period.* Railways must attract 10 percent of the Rs.20 lakh crore government expects to spend on infrastructure during 12th Plan

* Railways expect gross budgetary support of Rs.2.5 lakh crore during 12th Plan.

* Collective challenge to formulate viable funding mechanism for modernisation.

* Railways should contribute 2 percent of GDP from the present 1 percent.

* Stress on strengthening safety. Has to be be benchmarked with the best in the world.

* Outlay of Rs.60,100 crore during 2012-13, the highest ever.* Railways will require Rs.14 lakh crore in the next 10 years for modernisation.

* Aim to bring down operating ratio from 90 percent to 84.9 percent in 2012-13 and to 72 percent by 2016-17.

* Time has come for formulating national policy for railways on the lines of that for defence and external affairs.

* Railways should grow at 10 percent annually for sustained GDP growth.

* Railways must attract 10 percent of the Rs.20 lakh crore government expects to spend on infrastructure during 12th Plan.

* Focus during next five years on five areas: tracks, bridges, signalling, rolling stock and stations.* Signalling to be improved over 19,000 km.

* Attempt to increase train speeds to 160 kmph; journey time from New Delhi to Kolkata can be brought down to 14 hours from 17 hours.

* Improvements to railway stations can provide employment to 50,000 people.

* Railways will require Rs.14 lakh crore in the next 10 years for modernisation.
 
* Capacity augmentation to get Rs.4,410 crore during 2012-13.* Eighty-five new line projects to be taken up during 2012-13.

* One hundred and fourteen new line surveys to be undertaken during 2012-13.

* New line projects to get Rs.6,870 crore in 2012-13.

* Gauge conversion to be undertaken over 800 km with an allocation of Rs.1,950 crore.

* Electrification to be undertaken over 6,500 km at an allocation of Rs.8,000 crore during 12th Plan.* Conversion from DC to AC power supply completed in Western Railway corridor of Mumbai suburban rail system; conversion of Central Railway corridor to be completed in 2012-13.

* Elevated corridor from Churchgate to Virar in Mumbai being firmed up.

* Government should consider dividend payback to railways.

* Thirty-one projects over 5,000 km being implemented with state govenments sharing costs.

* Improvement of passenger amenities at a cost of Rs.1,112 crore; regional cuisines to be introduced.* World Bank funding of R.6,500 crore firmed up for dedicated freight corridors; land acquired for 3,300 km; first contracts to be handed out during 2012-13

* Standard of hygiene needs to be improved substantially; all out efforts will be made on this in the next six months; duty bound to provide high standard of services; special housekeeping body to be set up for stations and trains.

*Corrosion from night soil being discharged from toilets on tracks costs Rs.350 crore annually; green toilets to be installed in 2,500 coaches in the next one year.

* Two thousand one hundred specially designed coaches manufactured to meet needs of the differently abled; aim to provide one such coach in each express train.

* Targeting freight carriage of 1,025 million tonnes to bring in Rs.89,339 crore; passenger earnings estimated at Rs.36,073 crore; gross reciepts estimated at Rs.1.32 lakh crore.* Excess of Rs.1,492 crore after meeting expenses/dividend payments not adequate for meeting costs of several projects.

* Dedicated railway design wing at National Institute of Design with a contribution of Rs.10 crore.

* New passenger services: 820 new items; 75 new express trains; 21 new passenger trains; 75 new services in Mumbai suburban system.

* Guru Parikrama trains to be run to Amritsar, Patna and Nanded.

* No steep increase in passenger fares; 2 paisa per km for suburban trains; 3 paisa per km for mail and express trains.* Independent tariff authority suggested; needs serious debate; experts panel established; decision after debate in parliament.

* GRP/RPF personnel deployed on 3,500 trains.

* Free travel by Rajdhani express for Arjuna awardees.

 * Excess of Rs.1,492 crore after meeting expenses/dividend payments not adequate for meeting costs of several projects.

(Agenices)