In the next 10 years, the railway sector will see a ‘very high level’ of capital expenditure (capex) to cater to the passenger demand, while the modal share of railways in freight will rise to 40-45% from the present level of 26-27%, the Department of Economic Affairs said in the annual Economic Survey.
“The next 10 years will see a very high level of capex in the railway sector as capacity growth has to be accelerated such that by 2030 it is ahead of demand,” it said.
Noting that up to 2014, the capex on railway was barely ₹45,980 crore per annum, the government said: “Post 2014, a conscious effort was made to improve the railway sector by substantially increasing the capex. The capex outlay for 2021-22 is ₹2,15,000 crore, which is more than five times the 2014 level.”
It added that as more projects are taken on hand and several sources of capital funding are developed, the capex will increase further in the coming years and the railway system will actually emerge as ‘an engine of national growth’.
The Survey added that despite facing the unprecedented COVID-related challenges, Indian railways had carried 1.23 billion tonnes of freight and 1.25 billion passengers during FY21.
“Despite COVID-19 pandemic revenue-earning freight loading (excluding loading by Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) was 1,230.9 million tonnes in 2020-21 as compared to 1,208.4 million tonnes during 2019-20. Passengers originating were 1,250 million in 2020-21 as compared to 8,086 million in 2019-20,” it said.