The Union Budget 2020 introduced by Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had something in store for all critical sectors of the Indian economy this year. As far as the Indian Railways is concerned, the national transporter has witnessed a sharp rise in the Gross Budgetary Support for Capital Expenditure (Capex).
The Gross Budgetary Support for Capex to Indian Railways has gone up from Rs. 68,104 crore in the year 2019-20 to Rs. 70,250 crore in the year 2020-21- a sizeable increase of Rs. 2,146 crore.
The Capital Expenditure (Capex) of the Railways has gone up to an all time high of Rs. 1.61 lakh crore from Rs. 1.56 lakh crore. This is an increase of Rs. 4,691 crore in the total capital expenditure over the last year.
As the Indian Railways goes into an overdrive as far as creating fixed assets with greater Gross Budgetary Support and an all time high Capex, the Union Finance Minister has released a blueprint to further transform the Railways.
A number of innovative, out of the box measures are in the pipeline, as the national transporter is going to witness several game-changer moves such as introduction of private trains, seamless connectivity to tourist spots of the country, greater use of solar power that will now fuel the rail network, etc.
One of the big announcements about the Railways is the introduction of “Kisan Rail” under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. She said, “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.”
The focus of the Railways is going to be on creating robust infrastructure. Accordingly, a sum of Rs. l2,000 crore has been allocated towards construction of new rail lines, Rs. 700 crore towards doubling of railway tracks and Rs 1,650 crore have been allocated towards signalling and telecom in the present Budget.
With this ambitious Budget, the Modi government is looking to further transform the Railways. Ever since the Modi government came into power, enhancing passenger safety and travel experience have been the topmost considerations of the Modi government.
With Piyush Goyal at the helm of affairs, the Indian Railways has been able to push through a number of innovative moves. Several world class trains such as the Vande Bharat Express, Humsafar Express, Tejas Express, etc. have certainly put the Indian Railways in a different league altogether.
Last year, the Indian Railways achieved a major feat by recording zero casualties making 2019 the safest year for the Indian Railways in its history. With Piyush Goyal’s effective leadership, Modi government has been able to stage a massive turnaround as far as the national transporter is concerned. Now, with the Union Budget this year paying even greater attention on Capex in the Indian Railways, it seems that the Indian Railways is set for even some more impressive breakthroughs.