New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated Rs 2.40 lakh crore for railways which is nine times higher than budget 2013-14.
“Capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore has been provided for Railways; This highest ever outlay is about nine times the outlay made in FY 2013-14,” Sitharaman said in her budget speech in Parliament.
This is the highest-ever allocation of funds to the railway sector. This year’s railway budget is expected to focus on the completion of incomplete projects and also on the development of infrastructure. The focus will be on getting high-speed trains operational soon.
With increased passenger expectations, the railways is planning to refurbish more than 1,000 coaches of premier trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Humsafar and Tejas. The interiors of these coaches will be improved with a modern look and for enhanced passenger comfort.
A significant allocation is likely to be made to replace old tracks as the railways plan to speed up trains and launch Vande Bharat Express in more destinations. Aimed at attracting tourists, the railways is proposing to manufacture 100 more Vistadome coaches.
In the budget, the government has proposed manufacturing of 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains, 4,500 newly designed automobile carrier coaches with side entry, 5,000 LHB coaches and 58,000 wagons.
The funds allocated will cater to laying new tracks, increasing the number of semi-high-speed Vande Bharat trains, introducing hydrogen-powered trains as well as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.
The railways was allocated Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the Union Budget for 2022-23, of which Rs 1.37 lakh crore was earmarked for capital expenditure and Rs 3,267 lakh crore for revenue expenditure.
"Today's budget will make India the growth engine for the whole world. As the prime minister said the world is looking at India as a ray of hope, the Budget envisages that vision. The Budget tries to bring change in the lives of every section of society. I thank the Prime Minister," said Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
"The lack of investment in Railways for years had hindered it from achieving its potential. This Rs 2.41 lakh crore capital will bridge that gap. This will become a medium to fulfill the aspirations of our 800 crore passengers who travel in railways," he added.
“The inclusive, growth-oriented Budget builds on the foundation of previous years and is consistent with the Government’s efforts to maintain macro-economic stability while focusing on growth. The increase in investments in capital infrastructure, including ‘Green Growth’, sustainable cities and railways & transport infrastructure will give the necessary boost to the domestic economy. I also welcome the enhanced support for MSMEs, exports, domestic manufacturing and value-add, technology and youth, which are all imperative to maintain India’s economic growth,” commented Sunil Mathur, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Limited, India.
"India’s economic growth rate is the result of a resilient economy and prudent fiscal policies of the government. The Union Budget for 2023-2024 continues its focus on this path and the commitment to ‘green growth’ approach, will further boost the economy. Infrastructure is the most critical aspect of any economy and the highest ever capital investment outlay of 10 lakh crores is most commendable. Combined with the enhanced capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore provided for railways, these steps will go a long way in upgrading infrastructure, assets, systems, and facilities by leveraging technology and promoting a sustainable approach," commented Olivier Loison, Managing Director, Alstom India.
"Indian railway is a labor intensive and is one of the largest employment providers. Rail transportation is energy and cost efficient. Capacity building will increase passenger travelling and movement of goods, and the capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh should accelerate India’s growth," commented Arvind Sharma, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.