New Delhi: Presenting a populist budget, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Wednesday announced marginal hike in passenger fares ranging from 2 paise per kilometre to 30 paise per kilometre in various categories of trains despite noting that Railways was passing through a “difficult phase“.

He also announced introduction of 75 express trains, 21 passenger trains and extension of 39 trains besides increase in the frequency of 23 trains.

Platform tickets have also been raised from Rs 3 to Rs 5.

In his first Railway Budget, Mr. Trivedi announced increase in passenger fares by 2 paise per km for suburban and ordinary Second Class, 3 paise per km for Mail/Express Second Class and 5 paise per km for Sleeper Class, 10 paise per km for AC Chair Car, AC-3 Tier and First Class.

AC-2 Tier will cost more by 15 paise per km while AC-1 will be dearer by 30 paise per km.

In his over 100-minute speech, Mr. Trivedi said these were aimed at rationalising the fares to cause “minimal impact” on the common man and “to keep the burden within tolerance limits in general“.

He said he had been counselled to go for steep increase in passenger fares as there had been no increase in last eight years but he desisted from doing so “guided by the overriding concern for aam aadmi (common man)“.

The proposed adjustments, he said, do not even cover fully the impact of increase in fuel prices during the last eight years.

“I am keeping the valuable passengers of Indian Railways insulated from the burden of increasing staff cost,” he said.