Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday proposed a capital expenditure of ₹1,58,658 crore for the Railways Ministry for the year 2019-20 in the Interim Budget. This is the highest-ever allocation for the national transporter, surpassing last year’s allocation of ₹1,48,528 crore.
Mr. Goyal, who is also the Railways Minister, added that the operating ratio of Indian Railways is expected to improve to 95% in 2019-20 from 96.2% in 2018-19, and 98.4% in 2017-18.
“Capital support from the budget for railways is proposed at ₹64,587 crore in 2019-20 (BE). The Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of ₹1,58,658 crore.
The operating ratio is expected to improve from 98.4% in 2017-18 to 96.2% in 2018-19 (RE) and further to 95% in 2019-20 (BE),” the Minister said while presenting the Interim Budget.
An operating ratio of 95% means that railways is spending 95 paise to earn 100 paise.
Under the proposed outlay, ₹7,255 crore had been allocated for construction of new lines, ₹4,100 crore for road safety works (building road over/under bridges), ₹10,120 crore for track renewal, ₹3,422.57 for passenger amenities, ₹700 crore for doubling, ₹6,114.82 crore for rolling stock, ₹1,750 crore for signalling and telecom and ₹2,200 crore for gauge conversion. This means that passengers can expect better amenities, newer trains and coaches in the coming year.
The total outlay for 2019-20 comprises ₹64,587 crore from budgetary support, ₹10,500 crore from internal resources and ₹83,571 crore from extra-budgetary resources. In revised estimates 2018-19, the capital expenditure was ₹1,38,857.52 crore, comprising ₹53,060 crore from budgetary support, ₹6,500 crore from internal resources and ₹79,297.52 crore from extra-budgetary resources.
The budget estimates under revenue for the year 2019-20 (gross) is ₹2,72,705.68 crore, recording an increase of ₹22,854.67 crore over the revised estimates of ₹2,49,851.01 crore for 2018-19.
As per the Budget documents, the government expects railway earnings from passengers to grow to ₹56,000 crore from ₹52,000 crore in 2018-19, and from goods to grow by more than ₹10,000 crore to ₹1,31,565 crore.
In his speech, Mr. Goyal added that 2018-19 was the safest year in the history of Indian Railways.
Additionally, all unmanned level crossings on broad gauge network had been eliminated. Railway officials said that consequentially, train accidents had reduced from 118 in 2013-14 to 47 in 2018-19 (up to December).
Talking about first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed ‘Vande Bharat Express,’ Mr. Goyal said this was a major leap in technology wholly-developed by Indian engineers.