Railway Budget 2019: Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways will continue to focus on safety, security and modernization in the Union Budget 2019, to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the parliament today. In this Railway Budget 2019, installation of CCTV cameras will be given a priority, providing s sum of around Rs 250 crore from the Nirbhaya fund to the long-pending work of bringing railway stations across the country under a network of cameras according to an IE report. Also, around Rs 1,200 crore is likely to be provided from the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund for the elimination of manned level crossings for this fiscal year, the report said.
Both the amounts for these two projects are likely to be more than what has already been provided in the interim Budget that was presented before the General Election. The proposal for the installation of CCTV cameras in as many as 983 busiest stations with nearly Rs 500 crore from the Nirbhaya fund has been stuck and couldn’t be implemented due to various reasons. This year, it is being said that the Finance Ministry will release around Rs 250 crore from the Nirbhaya fund to start the project work.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s plan of eliminating all the level crossings in the country is a part of Indian Railways’ agenda for the first 100 days. Under this plan, the national transporter seeks to get rid of all the 2,568 level crossings in the busiest corridors of the Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonals by the year 2024.
The elimination of more than 19,000 manned level crossings will require a cost of Rs 50,000 crore. Rather than sharing the cost with states, the national transporter has decided to fund through Central assistance. However, Indian Railways will ask the states to acquire the land required for the structures.
The extra sum of money is likely to be added to the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) to Indian Railways. As per the Interim Budget for the current fiscal year, for railways, the capital expenditure remains around Rs 1,60,000 crore and a revenue target of around Rs 2,17,000 crore. The central government has also given Rs 64,000 crore as GBS to Indian Railways.
Currently, Indian Railways is also working towards other plans like coming up with a new PSU named, Indian Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, in order to bring all its seven production units under the company as an independent entity. Moreover, there is also this plan of asking railway passengers to give up the subsidy component of train tickets, akin to the voluntary giving up of LPG subsidy, the report said.