Focusing on better rail connectivity across the country, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday proposed public private partnership (PPP) in the country’s largest public transporter. In her budget speech in Parliament today, Sitharaman said that Railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crores between 2018 and 2030.
She endorsed that a PPP would be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services for railway projects to boost the connectivity.
“Railways will be encouraged to invest in suburban railways through special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and enhance metro rail network through PPPs,” she said.
Meanwhile, PTI reported that the Indian Railways has got a budgetary allocation of Rs 65,837 crore and the highest ever outlay for capital expenditure amounting to Rs 1.60 lakh crore in this year’s budget allocation. Last year, the outlay for the railways was Rs 1.48 lakh crore while the Budget allocation was Rs 55,088 crore.
In the Budget, funds of Rs 7,255 crore have been allocated for construction of new railway lines, Rs 2,200 crore for gauge conversion, Rs 700 crore for doubling, Rs 6,114.82 crore for rolling stock and Rs 1,750 crore for signalling and telecom – these allocations have remained the same as in the interim budget that was presented in February presented by then Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.
While specifying that the government envisions using rivers for cargo transportation, Sitharaman said the move will also decongest roads and railways. She added that Railway stations modernisation will be launched this year.
Capital support from the budget for railways had also echoed in the interim Budget earlier this year, when the then Finance Minister Piyush Goyal had proposed Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20. The Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme was Rs 1,58,658 crore.
-With PTI inputs