New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in Friday’s Union Budget 2019-20 speech announced a capital expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 lakh crore for the Railways, the highest ever for the national transporter, in an effort to put its flagging revenues back on track.
Goyal, who holds the Railways portfolio besides coal and power, said, so far, 2018-2019 has been the safest for the Indian Railways and all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network have been completely eliminated.
Baton from Jaitley
Arun Jaitley had, last year, introduced many passenger-friendly initiatives for the Railways. he introduced free Wi-Fi facility and facilities for disabled persons at all stations. Other measures like Rail Madad app, Menu on Rails app, live streaming of IRCTC kitchens were introduced.
“Capital expenditure programme of railways at all-time high of Rs 1.58 lakh crore in next financial year. Vande Bharat Express, indigenously developed semi-high speed (train), will give Indian passengers world class experience,” the minister said.
Goyal outlined the achievements of his government, stating that the people of India would soon have world-class train experience through semi-high speed train Vande Bharat Express, which is a product of Indian engineering.
“This major leap in wholly developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the Make in India programme and create jobs,” Goyal said in his debut budget speech.
As work on Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) is going on full swing while all slow-moving passenger trains on the Golden Quadrilateral are being replaced with faster MEMU train sets, more such projects are expected.
Goyal also announced that the operating ratio for the current fiscal has improved to 96.2%, and in the next financial year the aim will be to have it at 95%.
No fare hike
No railway fare hike was announced in the Railway Budget for 2019. Lok Sabha elections are slated to be held in April-May.
The planned expenditure would be a 148% hike from the levels of 2014.
Safest year for Railways
Goyal announced in his Railway Budget 2019 speech that this has been the safest year for Indian Railways. Highlighting Modi government’s big achievement, Piyush Goyal said that his ministry has eliminated all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network. This feat was achieved on 31 January when the last unmanned level crossing was removed.
More state-of-the-art rail coaches in future
64% hike in rolling stock allocation
Rail passengers are in for some faster, fancier and state-of-the-art coaches and trains in the coming fiscal with Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in his first Budget increasing the allocation for railways’ rolling stock by 64%.
The term rolling stock in rail transport refers to any vehicle that moves on rail tracks. It includes coaches, wagons and train sets.
The railways’ plan of exporting its coaches and be a part of the USD 200 billion rolling stock market worldwide will get a huge impetus by allocation of Rs 6,114.82 crore in the Budget. In 2018-2019, budgetary allocation in this regard was Rs 3,724.93 crore.
Buoyed by the success of the indigenous Train-18 (named recently Vande Bharat Express) which has hit a maximum speed of 180 kmph during trials, the new air-conditioned rakes, rakes for the metros and other such coaches and train sets, the railways has already drawn a blueprint till 2021 to increase production in its factories.
According to officials, if the target set by the railways for its factories – the Modern Coach Factory in Rai Barely, the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and its factories in Kapurthala and Haldia – is met, then they would have together manufactured almost 15,000 coaches of different kinds in 2019-2021.
These will include 200 Humsafar coaches, 290 Deen Dayalu coaches, 40 Antyodya coaches and other coaches for metros, electric multiple unit (EMUs) and mainline electric multiple units (MEMUs).
The Railways is also planning to produce six more Train 18s at a cost of Rs 97 crore each.
In the next three years, the railways will manufacture 884 Deen Dayalu – general category coaches, these will have padded seats, water dispensers and bio toilets. It will also manufacture 600 MEMUs – which will replace passenger trains in major cities in the coming years.
“Announced a capital expenditure allocation of Rs 1.58 lakh crore for the Railways, the highest ever for the national transporter, in an effort to put its flagging revenues back on track,” Goyal, who also holds the charge of the Railway ministry, said.
Last year, Arun Jaitley had allocated Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the Railways in his budget.
Goyal, who was given the charge of the finance ministry temporarily recently, presented the Budget 2019-20 in absence of Jaitley, who is away in New York for medical treatment. He said so far, the 2018-2019 financial year has been the safest for the Indian Railways and all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network have been completely eliminated.