at an Rs 22,279 crore. The inability of railways to contribute in required amounts to creation of revenue-generating assets is evident from the fact that just Rs 425 crore was credited to the Capital Fund in 2012-13 as against the Rs 5,000 crore estimated in Budget 2012.
Bansal has laid out his the capital investment plan thus: “...we must be realistic in setting targets in the Annual Plan 2013-14, even if it means Railways would be faced with a stiffer challenge of enhancing investment during the remaining three years of the 12th Plan. A Plan investment of Rs 63,363 crore is proposed for 2013-14. The Plan is proposed to be financed through gross budgetary support of Rs 26,000 crore, Railways’ share in Road Safety Fund of Rs 2,000 crore, internal resources of Rs 14,260 crore, market borrowings of Rs 15,103 crore and an expected mobilisation of Rs 6,000 crore through the public private partnership (PPP) route.”
Of course, the level of investments proposed through the PPP route is not anywhere near the scale envisaged by expert panels like Sam Pitroda-led one (which spoke about cumulative investments of $120 billion for the railways’ network expansion and all-round modernisation) or the Planing Commission (which set Rs lakh crore investments through this route in the 12th Plan). But the minister has identified the priority areas for PPP projects with diligence. He said considering the “limited success” of PPP in the railway sector so far, the PPP model would be employed in Mumbai’s elevated rail corridor, parts of DFC, redevelopment of stations, freight terminals, power projects during the 12th Plan. Care has been taken to promote investments in new rail lines to connect iron ore and coal mining areas to ports. Bansal appealed to state governments to be pro-active on this front and mooted the Centre-State SPV route. The PPP sector attracted investments of only Rs 1,050 crore in 2012-13.
The minister admitted most of the projects announced in the past years on safety upgradation, laying of new lines, doubling and gauge conversion have been either stranded, reduced in size or delayed, but