Rlys allocated Rs 1.10 lakh cr; to monetize DFC; focus on National Rail Plan 2030

·5-min read

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The Railways has been allocated a 'record' Rs 1.10 lakh crore in Budget 2021 of which Rs 1.07 lakh crore accounts for capital expenditure, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday.

While the allocation in 2021-22 has been termed as a 'record' for the national transporter, it had a slightly higher allocation of Rs 1.11 lakh crore in the revised budget of 2020-21.

The national carrier will monetize the upcoming Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) assets for operations and maintenance after commissioning and the Indian Railways will have a National Rail Plan to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030, Sitharaman said.

Presenting the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman also applauded the services provided by the Railways to transport essential goods across the country during the coronavirus lockdown.

'I am announcing a record sum of Rs 1,10,055 crore for railways of which Rs 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure only,' she said.

Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma on Monday described the Union Budget 2021-22 as a 'transformational' budget for the national transporter and said the budget has focus on deliverance.

'This budget is a different budget altogether. It is a transformational budget, it is a future ready budget for railway, it is path breaking budget,' Sharma said addressing a press conference here.

He said the focus of this budget is on deliverance, commitment to delivery, time schedule, focus on customers, focus on technology, induction to provide better services to customers, better passenger and freight services.

He said the works done during the coronavirus crisis resulted in the average speed of the trains showing a dramatic growth and in improving the speed of freight trains from 23 kmph to 46 kmph.

Sharing the details of the Budget announced by the Union Finance Minister in Lok Sabha Monday, the CRB said, 'Indian Railways has now highest ever total Plan capex of Rs 2,15,058 crore this year with Rs 7,500 crore from internal resources, Rs 1,00,258 crore from extra budgetary resources and Rs 1,07,100 crore for capital expenditure allocation given in the general budget.' 'The Gross Budgetary allocation is Rs 37,050 crore higher than BE 2020-21, which is 53 per cent. Inspite of Covid, this is remarkable vindication of the progress being made and being undertaken in infrastructure projects in railways,' Sharma said.

'With this increase in Capex, Indian Railways will be the driver of Indian economy. The thrust of annual Plan 2021-22 is on infrastructure development, throughput enhancement, development of terminal facilities, augmentation of speed of trains, signalling systems, improvement of passengers or users’ amenities, safety works of road over or under bridges etc,' he said.

Sitharaman lauded the safety figures of the railways and said the safety measures undertaken in the past few years have borne results.

'To further strengthen this effort, high density network and highly utilized network routes of Indian railways will be provided with an indigenously developed automatic train protection system that eliminates train collision due to human error,' she said.

Discussing the National Rail Plan mentioned by the finance minister in her budget speech, Sharma said the NRP envisages the plan for railways for 2050 for which the infrastructure needs to be prepared by 2030.

Sharma also said national projects of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North Eastern region have been allocated the highest ever outlay of Rs 12,985 crore.

He said the Budget Estimate of 2021-22, against the Revised Estimate of 2020-21 of Rs 7,535 crore, had an increase of 72 per cent.

He said Rs 37,270 crore of gross budgetary support (GBS) has been allocated for investment in PSU/JV/SPVs, with allocation for DFCCIL of Rs 16,086 crore, National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) of Rs 14,000 crore and Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) of Rs 900 crore.

'We have started using TCAS for 250 km of South Central Railway and for 1,200 km of sanctioned work is going on. And we plan to cover the high density network and high utility network in coming years,' Sharma said.

Discussing the future plan of railways, the CEO said, 'At least 150 more private trains through PPP mode, more Tejas trains, more vista dome coach trains for tourists, 3rd ac economy class coaches, SMART coaches which are providing more features like announcements, temperature control system and to check water levels, head on generation cars to make space for more coaches.' He said satellite-based tracking of trains with ISRO is already operational on 6,500 trains.

In the budget, it was announced that Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and Eastern DFC are expected to be commissioned by June 2022. Further, the Finance Minister proposed that the Sonnagar – Gomoh Section (263.7 km) of Eastern DFC will be taken up in PPP mode in 2021-22. Gomoh-Dankuni section of 274.3 km will also be taken up in short succession.

Future dedicated freight corridor projects namely East Coast corridor from Kharagpur to Vijayawada, East-West Corridor from Bhusaval to Kharagpur to Dankuni and North-South corridor from Itarsi to Vijayawada will be also be undertaken, Sitharaman said.

She also said 100 per cent electrification of broad-gauge routes will be completed by December, 2023. PTI ASG ASG RDM RDM