Railways gets Rs 65,837 cr; focus on passenger comfort, stress on PPP model

Railways received a budgetary allocation of Rs 65,837 crore and highest ever outlay for capital expenditure amounting to Rs 1.60 lakh crore in  the Budget for the year 2019-20 presented on Friday, which includes a whopping 200 per cent increase in funds for passenger amenities.

Last year, the outlay for the railways was Rs 1.48 lakh crore while the Budget allocation was Rs 55,088 crore. In the interim Budget, the allocation was Rs 1.58 lakh crore.

In the 2019-20 Budget, funds of Rs 7,255 crore have been allocated for construction of new lines, Rs 2,200 crore for gauge conversion, Rs 700 crore for doubling, Rs 6,114.82 crore for rolling stock and Rs 1,750 crore for signalling and telecom. The allocations have remained the same as in the interim budget presented in February.

“This is a budget for 130 crore Indians, rich or poor, for entrepreneurs, for the industry, promoting new work and opportunities,” said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

The allocation for rail passenger comfort this fiscal has gone up to Rs 3,422.57 crore from Rs 1,657 crore in the Budget presented last year by then finance minister Arun Jaitley. In the 2017-2018 financial year, the budgetary allocation for railway passenger amenities was Rs 1,100.90 crore.

Indication of the sharp rise was given in the interim Budget in which the allocation for passenger amenities jumped by 50 per cent from the amount allocated in 2018-2019.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Budget, said the railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crores between 2018 and 2030 and proposed that a public private partnership (PPP) be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services for railway projects to boost connectivity. “Railways will be encouraged to invest in suburban railways through special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and enhance metro rail network through PPPs,” she said.