Last updated at 17:32 GMT, Thursday, 15 March 2012

Are Indian train fares fair?

Summary

15 March 2012

For the first time in almost a decade, India will increase train ticket prices, as part of a bid to modernise its ageing rail network. The government will invest billions of dollars to improve safety and update trains and tracks, which are in some cases decades old.

Reporter
Rajini Vaidyanathan

Indian train

India's railway safety has to be improved

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More than 22 million people use India's rail network every single day - it's been a central mode of transport for people here since trains first started running in India in the 1800s, but many passengers say the trains and tracks are in dire need of modernisation.

In its annual railways budget the Indian government has pledged to build new tracks and carriages, and to modernise signalling, to improve safety and reduce the thousands of deaths which happen on the tracks every year.

But all this costs money. As well as investing 147 billion dollars in the next five years, it's announced a modest increase in ticket prices. This could be an unpopular move - there hasn't been a fare hike in the country for almost a decade. Members of railways minister Dinesh Trivedi's own party have criticised the move, saying fare increases should not have been made as they will hit the poorest.

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Vocabulary

fare

ticket price

tracks

railway rails

in dire need

urgently required

modernisation

update, improvement

annual

yearly

pledged

promised

signalling

controlling the direction of the trains

modest increase

small rise

fare hike

sudden increase in ticket price

hit the poorest

affect disadvantaged people

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