Railway Budget 2018: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Union Budget 2018 speech has announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for Indian Railways for 2018-2019. That’s a jump of 23% compared to the capex for the ongoing financial year 2017-2018. That’s a threefold increase in capital expenditure from Rs 53,989 crore in 2013-2014 to Rs 1.48 lakh crore in 2018-2019 – something that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had already hinted at. According to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, most of this increased capital expenditure would be focused on capacity augmentation, a fact that will Indian Railways reduce congestion on existing networks and enable timely and faster movement of goods and passengers. The Railway Budget 2018 has also announced that a target of 92.8% operating ratio is being set for the next financial year, as against 96% in the current FY. With a focus on safety, the total expenditure planned on safety activities including is Rs 73,065 crore in 2018-19. From electrification to conversion to broad gauge and steps for suburban railways, there are a host of new steps that have been announced that will cheer common man. In this article we list out some key figures and facts put out by the Narendra Modi government on the Railway Budget 2018:
Indian Railways is often called the lifeline of the country and an increase in capital expenditure, focus on electrification, safety, gauge conversion and passenger amenities would go a long way in augmenting traffic and therefore revenues of the national transporter. According to Abhaya Agarwal, Partner Infrastructure & PPP Leader, “Focus on capacity addition and service improvements through technology can be seen as a rationale move by the government. It is commendable that skilling and capacity building have been prioritized. Railways university and training center for high speed rails was announced in the speech. Overall, it appears as if the government is considering holistic development of the sector.” One would hope that with dedicated freight corridors being built as well, Indian Railways will see better days ahead and will be able to offer its customers – both passenger and freight – better service standards.