The question uppermost in the Rail Bhavan corridors these days is the plan size for the next financial year 2013-14 to meet the development expenditure in the light of the current financial constraints.
The Railways had to downsize their current plan outlay by Rs.9,000 crore from Rs.60,000 crore to Rs.51,000 crore for decreased internal generation of revenue. As a result, the ministry did not even go in for any supplementary demands, not having any money for developmental activities.
As against the projected internal resource of about Rs.18,000 crore, the actual is likely to be around Rs.10,000 crore only, mostly on account of the rollback in passenger fares for the economical classes and the hike in the fuel prices.
For 2013-14 the Railways are likely to peg internal resources at Rs.7,000 crore only and are banking on the Centre to provide a hiked Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) of Rs.38,000 crore up from this year’s Rs.24,000 crore.
Officials, however, fear that the Centre was unlikely to be generous particularly when it has announced its decision to cut 20 per cent of the budget allocation to cope with its own financial problems. To make up for the shortfall, authorities were aiming at financing their plan by increasing the share of extra budgetary resources like external borrowing by 14 per cent which during the current year is Rs.16,000 crore.
Even if the GBS is at the expected level of Rs.38,000 crore, the total plan outlay for 2013-14 could be about Rs.63,000 crore, a tad above the Rs.60,000-crore projected outlay for 2012-13, which has been revised downwards to Rs.51,000.
According to authorities, the stress would be on completing the last mile project, not taking up too many new projects in a bid to bring the throw forward arrears which was a whopping Rs.1.5 lakh crore to complete the pending projects.