Private trains to solar power-driven network: 6 highlights of Rail Budget 20203 min read . Updated: 02 Feb 2020, 08:33 AM IST
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed a blueprint for the railways in the Union Budget 2020-21 to be implemented with a budgetary support of ₹70,000 crore
- The gross budgetary support for the railways is pegged at ₹5,21,608 crore
NEW DELHI : Private trains, better connectivity to tourist sites, solar power to fuel the rail network and transportation of perishables -- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed a blueprint for the railways in the Union Budget 2020-21 to be implemented with a budgetary support of ₹70,000 crore.
In 2019-2020, the budgetary support was revised to ₹69,967 crore.
Continuing with its expansion plans, the railways' capital expenditure is pegged at ₹1.61 lakh crore for 2020-21, which is three per cent higher than the previous year's capex of ₹1.56 lakh crore.
The gross budgetary support for the railways is pegged at ₹5,21,608 crore.
In her budget speech, Sitharamam said the Indian Railways will set up a "Kisan Rail" through the public private partnership (PPP) mode with refrigerated coaches for transportation of perishable goods to assist farmers.
"To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of milk, meat and fish, the Indian Railways will set up a Kisan Rail through PPP arrangements. There shall be refrigerated coaches in express and freight trains as well," she said.
Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav expressed hope that private players will soon be on board to run trains.
He said more than two dozen firms, including global majors Alstom Transport, Bombardier, Siemens AG and Macquarie, have shown interest in the proposal.
"Tata is among the companies which have shown interest to run private trains," he added.
Focused on developing new infrastructure, ₹12,000 crore has been allocated for construction of new lines, ₹2,250 crore for gauge conversion, ₹700 crore for doubling, ₹5,786.97 crore for rolling stock and ₹1,650 crore for signalling and telecom in the 2020-21 budget.
The allocation for rail passenger comfort this fiscal is ₹2,725.63 crore.
The budget also proposed freight loading at 1,265 MT, which is 42 MT (3.4 per cent) incremental over RE 2019-20.
The total receipts of the railways comprising earnings from passenger, goods, sundry other heads and railway recruitment boards is estimated to be ₹2.25 lakh crore in the Budget Estimates (BE) of 2020-21, up by 9.6 per cent from the Revised Estimates (RE) of 2019-20 which was ₹2.06 lakh crore.
Revenue receipts amounting to ₹61,000 crore through passenger earnings and ₹1,47,000 crore in goods earnings have been envisaged in the coming financial year.
The operating ratio, which was envisaged to be 95 per cent in BE 2019-20 and revised to 97.46 per cent in RE 2019-2020 is now targeted at 96.2 per cent in BE 2020-21.
The budget also proposed setting up of a large solar power capacity alongside the rail tracks on land owned by the railways. Redevelopment of four stations and operation of 150 passenger trains would be done through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode.
It also announced introduction of more Tejas-type trains which will connect iconic tourist destinations along with 150 trains which would be run by private operators.
The finance minister proposed a 148-km-long Bengaluru suburban transport project at a cost of ₹18,600 crore, which would have fares on the metro model.
The Centre would provide 20 per cent of equity and facilitate external assistance of up to 60 per cent of the project cost.
High-speed train corridor between Mumbai to Ahmedabad would be completed by 2023, she said adding that the Bengaluru-Chennai train project would also be taken up.
"In carrying out its duty, the Indian Railways performs a service to the nation. Within 100 days of assumption of this government, it has commissioned 550 wi-fi facilities in as many stations… eliminated unmanned crossings. We aim to achieve the electrification of 27,000 km of tracks. This will call for optimisation of costs. Railways has small operating surplus," Sitharaman said.
However, what will remain a major headache of the railways is the revenue expenditure, which includes an estimated salary payout of ₹92,993.07 crore, about ₹6,000 crore more than last year.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.