1. THEME: The broad budget theme is to (a) Reorganise, (b) Restructure and (c) Rejuvenate the Indian Railways. As an idea no one can fault this.
2. PILLARS: The three pillars of the strategy that would bring this about are (a) new revenues (b) new norms and (c) new structures. Again, this reads perfect.
3. MARGIN: In the year that went by the Railways worked on an operating ratio of 90 per cent and plans to work the following year at 92 per cent. Margin in the region of 8 to 10 per cent is amongst the highest in recent times.
4. CAPEX: The average capital expenditure during UPA II was Rs 48,100 crore. The 2015-16 investment is likely to be around Rs 100,000 crore. In 2016-17 the capex of Rs 1.21 lakh crore will happen through joint ventures with states and by developing new frameworks for PPP. This is surely most welcome. We need to invest heavily to grow.
5. VISION: By 2020, if things go per plans you will see 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 and zero direct discharge of human waste. Wonderful as a vision.