New Delhi: Presenting a populist budget, Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Wednesday announced marginal hike in passenger fares ranging from 2 paisa per kilometre to 30 paisa per kilometre in various categories of trains despite noting that Railways was passing through a "difficult phase".

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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. In his first Railway Budget, Trivedi announced increase in passenger fares by 2 paise per km for suburban and ordinary Second Class, 3 paise per km for Mail/Express Second Class and 5 per paise per km for Sleeper Class, 10 paise per km for AC Chair Car, AC-3 Tier and First Class.
AC-2 Tier will cost more by 15 paise per km while AC-1 will be dearer by 30 paise per km.
In his over 100-minute speech, Trivedi said these were aimed at rationalising the fares to cause "minimal impact" on the common man and "to keep the burden within tolerance limits in general".
He said he had been counselled to go for steep increase in passenger fares as there had been no increase in last eight years but he desisted from doing so "guided by the overriding concern for aam aadmi (common man)".
The proposed adjustments, he said, do not even cover fully the impact of increase in fuel prices during the last eight years.
"I am keeping the valuable passengers of Indian Railways insulated from the burden of increasing staff cost," he said.

Regretting that the Budgetary support has not been at the levels required by the Railways, Trivedi said in the event of further increase in input costs it would not be possible for the railways to keep the passengers' cushion from the impact of such increases.
Contending that the Railways was "passing through a difficult phase", he said the Budgetary support has been pegged at a "modest" level of Rs 24,000 crore as against a projected requirement of Rs 45,000 crore.
In the current year, the Minister said although there were no arrears of the Pay Commission to be paid, the impact of allowances and several post-budgetary factors has been "very stressful" for the finances of the Railways.
Trivedi said there have been suggestions for creation of an independent Railway Tariff Regulatory Authority but since it requires serious debate, he had decided to set up a body of experts to examine this.
He said he was contemplating a system of segregating fuel component in the cost associated with passenger services and call it FAC (fuel adjustment component).
"The FAC will be dynamic in nature and will change in either direction with the change of fuel costs," he said.
The Minister said Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation will redevelop 100 stations and maintain them on pattern of airports.
There is a plan to modernise 19,000 km of railway tracks, which cater to 80 percent of traffic, says Trivedi.
The annual plan for Railways for 2012-13 was put at the highest ever Rs 60,100 crore.
Passenger amenities would be given Rs 1,112 crore in 2012-13 as against Rs 762 crore in current year. All metre gauge, narrow gauge sections would be made broad gauge, except heritage lines, by end of 12th Five Year Plan.
Trivedi said 800 km of lines to be gauge converted at Rs 1,950 crore in 2012-13.
725 km of new lines would be completed in the current year and Rs 6,725 crore has been earmarked for new lines, he said.
Survey would be taken up on 14 new rail lines in 2012-13. He said the budget will be a chain in the link and would seamlessly integrate with 12th Plan and Vision 2020 document of former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.