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            november 14, 2018

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Indiaexportnews.com

New Railways in new India budget

  02.02.2018    

The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley, in his speech for General Budget 2018-19 has laid out a roadmap for Indian Railways, which is in line with Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of New India by 2022. In the past four years, Government has taken several decisions to transform Railways into a modern, safe, green, affordable and comfortable mode of transport.
Subsequent to the presentation of the Budget in Parliament today, The Union Minister for Railways and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal informed that Government is drastically scaling up investments by almost three times to Rs 1,46,500 cr. in 2018-19 as against Rs 53,989 cr. in 2013-14to reduce accumulated backlog in capacity creation. Shri Goyal pointed out that this is 22% higher than 2017-18 (RE), and includes budgetary support of Rs. 53,060 cr; internal resources of Rs. 11,500 cr; IRFC to raise Rs. 28,500 cr; Institutional Finance (LIC) to support with Rs. 26,440 cr; and investment through PPP of Rs. 27,000 cr. Briefing the mediapersons, the Minister explained that Government has provided Rs.19,40Cr towards reimbursement of losses on operation of strategic lines and Rs 88Cr towards reimbursement of operational cost of e ticketing to IRCTC.
Shri Goyal also emphasized that in this Budget 2018-19, Government has accorded highest priority to safety in line with its philosophy of every life is precious. The total expenditure planned on safety activities including Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) is Rs. 68,725 cr in RE 2017-18 and Rs. 73,065 cr in BE 2018-19. The RRSK will comprise Rs. 5,000 cr from Capital (Budgetary Support), Rs. 10,000 cr from Railway Safety Fund received as Railways’ share from Central Road fund & Rs. 5,000 cr from Railways’ revenue. Apart from elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings on all busy routes and shift to production of safer LHB coaches, there is focus on track renewal with the highest ever outlay ever.
The Union Minister for Railways and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal said Indian Railways is powering India by being the main transporter of coal. Soon the power sector will give added energy to railways, which will electrify the entire network within the next 5 years. This will lead to an estimated saving of Rs. 10,000 cr per annum, help in reducing carbon emissions and promote sustainable development, besides increasing India’s energy security by saving foreign exchange on imported fuels.
The Minister also informed that 600 Stations are to be developed with world class facilities. Escalators will be provided at all stations with passenger footfall above 25,000. All railway stations and trains will be provided with wi-fi facility for information and entertainment. This will also enable people in rural areas, including women and youth, to access the internet and enhance their knowledge and skills. To enhance safety and security of passengers, Indian Railways will set up CCTV cameras across all stations and trains to enhance security.
Considering that Railways is one of the safest, economical and sustainable modes of transport, Shri Goyal said Railways will focus on providing improved suburban services to metros like Mumbai with90 kms line doubling of around Rs. 11,000 cr. In addition, 150 kilometers of additional suburban network is being planned Rs. 40,000 crore for enhancing transportation in Mumbai with expansion of suburban railway system. Railways will also build 160 kms suburban network worth Rs. 17,000 cr in Bengaluru to help reduce congestion there and save commuting time of passengers.
In the General Budget 2018-19, Government has also approved setting up of India’s first Rail and Transportation University in Vadodara, Gujarat.
Railways has ambitiously increased targets in capacity building to ease the network and ensure highest standards of safety, speed and service for customers.
Replying to queries regarding operating ratio, Minister said as of 2018-19 (BE) Operating Ratio is estimated at 92.8% as against 96% in 2017-18 (RE). The excess of revenue over expenditure is Rs. 12,990 cr in 2018-19 (BE).
Total Revenue receipts in 2018-19 (BE) are estimated to increase by 7% to Rs. 2,01,090 cr. Gross Traffic Receipts are also estimated to increase by 7% to Rs. 2,00,840 cr. Sundry other earnings are estimated to increase by 49% to Rs. 20,790 cr.
Total Revenue expenditure in 2018-19 (BE) is estimated to increase by 4% to Rs. 1,88,100 cr. Major components include Ordinary Working Expenses (Rs. 1,38,000 cr.), appropriation to DRF (Rs. 500 cr.) and appropriation to Pension Fund from Revenue (Rs. 47,500 cr.).
It was also noted that there is focus on freight earnings with estimated increase of 51MT in 2018-19 (BE) over 2017-18 (RE). 2017-18 has seen a reversal of the trend of low growth in freight loading over the previous 2 years. Incremental loading in April-January 2018 is 45 MT over the same period last year. There has been incremental loading of 6 MT in January itself. This highlights move towards sustainable railway operations.

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