Union Budget 2023: Presenting the budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday increased railways’ capital expenditure to a record high of Rs 2.40 lakh crore.
In her budget speech, she stated that the railways’ outlay has increased by nine times compared to the amount provided in the financial year 2013-14
The railways’ capital expenditure was around Rs 45,980 crore in 2014, the year when Indian railways was infamous for highly congested routes and inefficient to meet the growing demands.
The capital expenditure is expected to increase further due to the various projects that are being taken on and the development of new sources of capital funding. It is expected that the railways will emerge as an important contributor to the country’s growth.
Sitharaman further announced that 100 critical transport infrastructure projects will be identified on priority basis to provide last and first mile connectivity to transport coal, fertilisers and food grains. A total investment of Rs 75,000 crore has been kept aside for the same that includes Rs 15, 000 crore for private sources
The railways is also planning to upgrade over a thousand coaches of premier trains, such as the Shatabdi, Rajdhani, Tejas and the Duronto. These will be equipped with modern interiors and have better passenger comfort. Moreover, significant allocations will be made to replace old tracks and launch more Vande Bharat Express trains. Moreover, Indian Railways is poised at manufacturing 100 more Vistadome coaches to attract tourism.
The government allocated funds for the manufacture of 35 hydrogen fuel-efficient trains. It also plans to introduce 4,500 new coaches, 5,000 LHB coaches, and 58,000 wagons.
Indian Railways has increased the numbers of mechanised cleaning contracts at stations and coaches in trains.
In the Union Budget for the 2022-23 financial year, the railways was allocated a total of Rs 1.4 lakh crore. Out of this, Rs 1.37 crore was allocated for capital expenditure, while Rs 3,267 crore was for revenue expenditure.