Home / Budget / News /  Budget may give a big push to Railways

MUMBAI : The government is likely to provide record budgetary support to strengthen the infrastructure of Indian Railways. The gross budgetary support for railways is likely to increase by 29% to 1.8 trillion in the year starting 1 April from 1.4 trillion in the current year, two people familiar with the development said.

The railway ministry expects total capital expenditure to rise more than 20% to exceed 3 trillion in FY24 on higher budget allocation, increased revenue from subsidiaries, and higher borrowings, one of the two officials said, seeking anonymity. The capital expenditure outlay was 2.45 trillion in the current fiscal.

The railway ministry has requested increased allocation from the finance ministry to prioritize long-term infrastructure projects such as freight corridors and high-speed trains, the modernization of trains, wagons, and locomotives, electrification of railway routes and overhauling of signalling systems to make train travel safer.

Queries to spokespeople for finance and railway ministries did not elicit any response till press time.

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“Higher capex allocation is the need of the hour as the national transporter reaches a critical stage of implementing key infrastructure projects. The Centre supported the initiatives with a record increase in gross budgetary support last year. We expect it to increase further," said a former rail board chairman, seeking anonymity.

Modernizing railways is a central part of the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and drive growth.

At the launch of the Vande Bharat Express train in West Bengal on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Centre is making record investments to modernize rail infrastructure.

According to the Prime Minister’s office, Tejas Hum Safar, Vande Bharat and VistaDome coaches, and the upgradation of all stations, electrification and doubling of rail lines are part of the modernization plans.

Modi said the eastern and western dedicated freight corridor projects would be revolutionary changes in the logistics sector.

Railways received the highest-ever capex allocation of 2.45 trillion for FY23, besides spending 7,000 crore from its internal resources and 101 trillion in additional support.

While gross budgetary support, the amount received by a government entity from the budget, stood at 1.37 trillion for FY23, for the first time in FY22, it breached the trillion-rupee mark at 1.07 trillion. In FY21, it was at 70,250 crore, 69,967 crore in FY20 and 55,088 crore in FY19.

The officials said a significant portion of the funds for FY24 may be allocated to the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, which is currently under construction at full throttle in the Gujarat leg of the project. The government also plans to begin work on at least one more bullet train project in the upcoming fiscal year, they said.

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