Railways plan to invest Rs. 32,000 crore on new lines and Rs. 13,000 crore for customer services.

The capital expenditure budget for the railways is Rs 2.4 lakh crore.While it prepares to spend a record-breaking Rs 2.4 lakh crore in capital investment, Indian Railways has set aside over Rs 32,000 crore for new lines, a similar amount for doubling existing lines, Rs 13,000 crore for “customer amenities” improvements, and over Rs 4,000 crore for new signalling assets.

INDIA – MARCH 21: Office workers on crowded commuter train of Western Railway near Mahalaxmi Station on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, India (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Indian Railways

In keeping with the government’s ambitious plan to invest more than Rs 10 lakh crore in infrastructure, Railways has chosen to construct 600 km of new lines and 2,800 km of doubled lines, increasing its ability to carry more. It has set a goal to transport 1,600 million tonnes of freight in the upcoming fiscal year, which is 100 MT more than this year. These ambitions depend on expanding major corridors by two, three, or four times. The capital expenditure budget for the Railways is Rs 2.4 lakh crore.

The “customer amenities” head, which was replaced with “customer services” in order to include both passengers and freight clients, was given a budget of Rs 13,355 crore. The capacity of the freight yards and goods sheds would reportedly receive an upgrade costing Rs 12,000 crore, according to sources. It is crucial to update the goods sheds and the handling capacity for speedier and more seamless processing of freight, according to a senior official from the Railway ministry. For “passenger amenity” projects at stations this year, Railways has set aside Rs 3,132 crore.

Even by the norms of the NDA governments, the rail industry has never had such high levels of public spending, which has greatly increased investment in railroads year after year. After setting a capex goal of Rs. 1.56 lakh crore, Railways may invest Rs. 1.48 lakh crore in 2019–20. The next year, it generated an updated estimate of capex of Rs. 1.61 lakh crore but ultimately only spent Rs. 1.55 lakh crore. Similarly, after aiming for a revised estimate of Rs 2.15 lakh crore that year, it may spend Rs 1.9 lakh crore, its largest spending to date. It anticipates spending Rs 2.45 lakh crore this year.

However, according to the data, the money allocated to doubling of lines this fiscal is Rs 42,726 crore — more than Rs 12,000 crore more than what is earmarked for the following fiscal year. Railways is expected to spend around Rs 27,000 crore on new lines this fiscal year, but more than Rs 31,000 crore next year, according to the plan.

Similarly, Railways will invest around Rs 47,510 crore in new rolling stock such as coaches, engines, and waggons in FY-24. It plans to spend Rs 59,000 crore this fiscal. More Vande Bharat Express trains, 1,260 electric locomotives, 7,000 new coaches, and 26,000 waggons are expected in 2023-24.

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