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Railway Budget 2020: Swanky, faster trains and dedicated freight corridors; top 5 expectations

Railway Budget 2020: On Indian Railways’ front, the Finance Minister is expected to announce an increase in capital expenditure.

Railway Budget 2020: This year, many expectations are being made from the current government.

Railway Budget 2020 is being presented as a part of the Union Budget 2020-21 by Union Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. On Indian Railways’ front, the Finance Minister is expected to announce an increase in capital expenditure. Last year, various upgradations were undertaken by the Railway Ministry to improve the infrastructure of the rail sector. This year as well, many expectations are being made from the current government. In July 2019, when Sitharaman presented her first budget of Modi government’s second term, the minister said that the infrastructure of Indian Railways would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore by the year 2030. Let us take a look at 5 major focus areas for Railway Budget 2020:

1. Private Trains: The Railway Budget 2020 is expected to focus on allowing private trains on the national transporter’s network. The Railway Ministry is inviting private players to operate world-class trains. Under the project, worth Rs 22,500 crore, 150 trains have been identified in the first phase to run on 100 routes. Some private players who are interested in this project are Mitsui, Hyundai Rotem, Talgo, Alstom Siemens, Bombardier Transportation India, Adani, and Medha.

2. Multi-Tracking: Sitharaman may highlight Indian Railways’ big capacity expansion project – multi-tracking.By the end of 2024, nearly 34,000 km routes, mostly with high-density traffic, are likely to be doubled or tripled. In November 2019, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply in Lok Sabha stated that 255 doubling projects of length 20,500 km are in different stages of planning, sanction or execution, out of which a length of 2,784 km has been commissioned till March 2019.

3. Signalling: The Railway Budget 2020 is expected to focus on the modernization of the signalling system. In a bid to enhance safety, which is one of the key focus areas of Indian Railways and for world-class signalling system, the Finance Minister may include the implementation of the European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2, in this year’s budget speech. Also, the allocation could be made for the complete electrification of the Indian Railways network.

4. Dedicated Freight Corridors: The Finance Minister is likely to focus on the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), which are being implemented by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL). The development works on Eastern and Western DFCs are likely to be over by 2021-end. Additionally, works on two more such corridors are likely to start soon. DFCs have emerged as game-changers by enabling faster movement of freight and also decongesting the existing lines to allow more passenger trains to run.

5. Bullet Trains: Indian Railways is betting big on high-speed trains! The physical work for the country’s first bullet train project, which will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, will start in six months. Also, detailed project reports (DPRs) for six more high-speed and semi high-speed rail corridors will be prepared this year, including Delhi-Noida-Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi, Mumbai-Pune-Hyderabad, Delhi-Jaipur-Udaipur-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Nashik-Nagpur, Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore, and Delhi-Chandigarh-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Amritsar sections.

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