The Railways will on Tuesday present its first budget under the new government, and in a first, it will also officially live-tweet the budget announcements, conforming with PM Narendra Modi’s penchant for social media.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda roped in head of the BJP’s IT cell, Arvind Gupta, to create the social-media profiles of the 160-year-old transport behemoth. “I am thankful to Arvind Gupta for his support,” Gowda said on Monday after his ministry unveiled the social media profiles.
Live-tweeting is one of the many firsts about Gowda’s maiden Rail Budget.
Sources said Gowda had communicated to his ministry officials that the budget should not have any promises resembling those made in the last few decades.
The Finance Ministry under Arun Jaitley and Modi himself kept a keen watch on what is going to be the government’s first big event in Parliament. Gowda met Modi and Jaitley at least twice in the past month, specifically as part of his budget-making exercise.
With safety, technology and modernisation as buzzwords, a safety fund is believed to be on the cards for critical upgrades. The Railways had sought a gross budgetary support of Rs 38,000 crore – an increase of Rs 9,000 crore over the amount sanctioned in the last budget, on account of safety. Internally, Railway officials who have worked on the new budget have described it as “forward looking”.
The process to set up paperless offices and making the “139” service toll-free for better feedback are some of the expected announcements.
Baggage of the past, like the hundreds of unviable promises and populist works will be pushed to the backburner.
The first phase of the BJP’s poll promises, like a high-speed corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai to be linked to the Diamond Quadrilateral is likely to be mentioned. Launch of semi-high speed trains on at least three routes with the speed of around 160 kmph are also planned. FDI in Railway lines, including the proposed bullet train corridor, will feature as a means to pump cash.