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Friday, February 27, 2015

What Senior citizens Got From Rail Budget 2015

Senior Citizens population rise is on fast track and all government machinery, country's infrastructure, community services, communication, financial, health and social sector should also match up the demand from such growing Silver Population. 

#‎RailBudget2015‬ ‪#‎Railwaybudget‬ was interesting and awaited by all, as it was first rail budget of #Modisarkar, and high expectation from all quarters of society. There seems to be no appeasement but a progressive step ahead.

We at Silver Inning Foundation have been advocating for Rights, Dignity and Security of our Elders and we had demanded from Railway Minister #SureshPrabhu that  ‪#‎seniorcitizens‬ wants equal gender right and concession in fare; they need special coach in local suburban trains; need Elevators, rams, battery operated vehicle, baggage trolley on stations; want lower berths for reservations; more pilgrimage special trains; diet food; First Aids and medical care; easy and friendly road transport from stations, shuttle bus service and elder friendly design and architecture.

And we were happy that Railbudget has met some of our important demands.

Following are announcement which will help Seniors of this country, while making their trian travel comfortable:

Direct Benefit :
Any senior citizen or pregnant woman who's travelled by Indian Railways can attest to the difficulty in getting a lower seat berth while booking tickets, something that only gets more difficult once the train has been boarded. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu seems to have heard their plea and with his first railway budget made it easier for them to get berths that they can get into much more easily.
Prabhu announced that the number of lower berth seats reserved for senior citizens and pregnant women in every coach so that they have a higher chance of getting it while buying the ticket.
The minister also said that ticket examiners would be instructed to help senior citizens and pregnant women, who weren't alloted lower berths during the reservation process. Middle bay of coaches to be reserved for women and senior citizen.

The Railway Minister also said that they planned to allow senior citizens to reserve wheelchairs at stations before they arrived there so that they could be assisted in getting to trains. In order to make it easier for them to cross platforms, he said that the railways would work on increasing the number of elevators and escalators across stations.

The Minister also announced a slew of measures for the physically challenged, including better access to railway stations, Braille lettering on coaches and availablility of wheelchair facilities for them as well.

Lifts and escalators have been planned at major stations to facilitate easy movement of the elderly and differentlyabled passengers. An amount of Rs. 120 crore has been Page 21 of 53 provided for this purpose which is about 76% more than the final allotment in the current year. All newly manufactured coaches will henceforth be Braille enabled and Rail Coach Factory has been asked to explore the possibility of building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers.

Newly manufactured coaches will be Braille enabled; building wider entrances for the ease of differently-abled passengers

Accordingly, appropriation to the Pension Fund has been increased to Rs. 29,540 crore in RE

Indirect Benefit:  
No raise in fare 

Introducing 'Operation Five Minutes' to ensure that a passenger travelling unreserved can purchase a ticket within five minutes. 

Issuing unreserved tickets on smart phones.

Food can be ordered through the IRCTC website at the time of booking of tickets. 

Proposed to introduce an "SMS Alert" service to inform passengers in advance the updated arrival/departure time of trains at starting or destination stations. Similarly SMS alert would be sent 15/30 minutes in advance of arrival of the train at the destination.

Hand-held terminals will now be provided to Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs), which can be used for verification of passengers and downloading charts.

Online booking of retiring rooms has already been initiated. The facility of self-operated lockers would also gradually be made available at stations. It is proposed to provide concierge services through the IRCTC at major stations for the assistance of passengers for their pick up and drop.

To replace the present ladders used for climbing upper berths, which are uncomfortable with user friendly ones. We have approached the National Institute of Design for this purpose. Folding ladder would be made available in coaches for easy climbing.
IRCTC will work on Kisan Yatra, a special travel scheme.

But we were unhappy with #AGEDiscrimination in self-employment, promotion of products made by Self Help Groups. What Minister proposed:
To encourage self-employment, we will promote products made by Self Help Groups, consisting mainly of women and youth. Konkan Railway (KR) has already launched this programme in three states during the past three months. KR expects to generate employment for approximately 50,000 persons from this scheme in the next few years.
We at Silver Inning Foundation, raise our objection on age discrimination, and make this proposal for 'All Ages'. 
On the whole the budget seems to bring smile on Seniors, but still lots to be done, hope this is a step ahead, for many more good things to happen for our 60 plus population. 
Waiting now for #Budget2015 .....
Sailesh Mishra, Founder President, Silver Innings Group

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