The Union Budget has proposed a record budgetary allocation of ₹2.40 lakh crore for the Indian Railways on Wednesday. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam said the allocation was over nine times the amount earmarked in financial year 2013-14.
Roads and Railways have been central to the government’s capital expenditure push and had seen additional capital outlays in the last few budgets.
The Economic Survey on January 31 has said that the next 10 years will see a very high level of capital expenditure in the railway sector as capacity growth has to be accelerated, so that by 2030 it is ahead of demand.
Up to 2014, capex on railway was barely 45,980 crore per annum and consequently, the railway was charecterised by high levels of inefficiency and highly congested routes unable to meet the growing demand.
As more projects are taken on hand and several sources of capital funding are developed, capex will increase further in coming years and the railway system will actually emerge as an engine of national growth.
Ms. Sitharaman while presenting the Budget for 2023-24 said that the government hopes to build on the foundation of the previous budget and blue print for India@100.
Dressed in a red saree with black and golden border, Ms. Sitharaman continued with the tradition she set in 2019, carrying the Budget speech in a ‘bahi-khata’, which she used after ditching the briefcase. She kept a digital tablet in a red bahi khata style pouch.
Budget 2023 will be the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term with the next Lok Sabha election due in April-May of 2024.