Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced his fifth Railway budget 2008-09 today (Feb 26, 2008). Key highlights of the Railway Budget are as follows:
> Revenue from passenger fares rose 14% in 2007-08

> In April-December, revenue from frieght services climbed 8-10% to Rs 347 billion

> Additional frieght services of Rs 20 billion

> Cash surplus of Rs 250 billion

> Operating ratio at 76%

> Dividend of Rs 88

> Railway fund balance up at Rs 204.80 billion

> Reduced fares helped to increase volumes and profits

> Productivity of railway assets have been constantly increasing

> Adopted tariff to go up market share and revenues

> To produce only stainless steel coaches from FY10

> To link train via software communications by 2009

> New coaches in all Shatabdi Trains by 2011

> To have online contol of trains in 2 years

> New coaches in all Rajdhani Trains by 2009

> Plan to spend Rs 750 bn on infrastructure over 7 years

> Stainless steel coaches likely to benefit steel companies viz. JSW Steel, Jindal Stainless,
Tata Steel, BEML, Texmaco

> 25 - 20 Tonne Axle Loads trains to be started

> Thrust on IT likely to benefit domestic software companies

> To manufacture 20,000 Wagons by FY09

> 50 new terminals planned in Mumbai, Pune, Ghaziabad

> To have new Wagon Leasing Policy

> 200 MT tariff seen from cement in 2011 - 12

> Container Corporations ( CONCOR ) to set up 8 Depots

> To have new policy for Bulk Handling Terminals

> Annual steel traffic aim at 200 million tonnes (MT) by 2011 from 120 MT now

> ETA Display in the long route trains likely to benefit MIC Electronics

> Rs 40 billions to come from real estate development in 2008-09

> Connectivity to Mundra likely to benefit Mundra SEZ, Tata power, Reliance Energy.

> Focus on increased security at railway stations

> Gangmen could become Gatemen in unmanned process

> Planning smart card based ticket system

> Senior citizen women to get a relief of 50% from 30% now

> More facilties to be provided to old and women passengers

> Plan fire prevention device in train coaches on pilot basis, it could cost Rs 70 billions if implemented fully

> CCTV, metal detectors to be installed in all railway stations

> CFL`s to be used in order to encourage power saving

> Doubling of lines to be given priority

> Coach factory to be set up in Kerala, Kerala Government has given 1000 acres land for its

> Railways to provide escalators at 50% of the railway stations

> Mother Child Health Express likely to be started

> Fares cut announced by Railway Minister

> Sleeper fare cut upto 5% across the board, Re 1 discount to all fares upto Rs 150

> AC I fares to cut by 7%, AC II by 4% and AC III by 3%

> Frieght on petrol and diesel cut by 5%

> Frieghtrates on FLY ASH cut by 14%