Among the transport systems worldwide, the rail mode is re-establishing itself. This resurgence is because railways are six times greater energy efficient and four times higher land use efficient mode of transport. Indian Railways are, perhaps, the most environment friendly transport system, the world has ever known.
With its huge network spanning over 63,000 route km, the railways are, in fact, the engine of growth for the national economy. It is difficult to perceive the growth of the economy without a corresponding growth in railway infrastructure.
In this Budget, I will not merely address the next fiscal but would also attempt to provide a route map for the railways. The focus will, therefore, be on policy initiatives, directed towards long-term objectives. A status paper was presented in May, 1998, outlining the issues facing the Indian Railways. Taking note of the changing scenario this is being updated.
Willing TO CHANGE...
With the liberalisation of Indian economy, the pattern of industrialisation is undergoing a significant change with production centres coming closer to the source of raw materials or consumption centres. The average distances over which some of the major commodities are moved by rail have been gradually declining and railways have to take various measures to capture short lead traffic.