Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has paved the way for Indian Railways to run on the tracks of modernity by making a provision of a record 2.40 lakh crore in the General Budget. In the last nine years, the government has increased capital expenditure on railways by a maximum of nine times (900 per cent).
With the budgetary allocation, semi-high speed Vande Bharata Express trains, modern LHB coaches, a railway track with anti-collision technology armor, a new signaling system, a new type of wagons, construction of high-speed wheels, system dome coaches including all the development works could be done on the railway tracks.
In the general budget 2023-24, the capital expenditure for Indian Railways has been increased to Rs 2.40 lakh crore, which is the highest ever.
Presenting the budget in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the amount allocated to Railways in 2013-14 is nine times more than the current amount. She said with the increasing expectations of passengers traveling by rail, Railways is planning to refurbish more than 1000 coaches of premier trains like Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto, Humsafar, and Tejas. The interiors of these coaches will be made state-of-the-art and improved for passenger comfort.
The significant allocation is likely to be made for the replacement of old railway tracks. Because the railway is planning to speed up trains and start semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express for 75 places. Railways are proposing to make 100 more wisdom coaches to attract tourists.
In this budget, the government has proposed to manufacture 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains, 4,500 newly designed automobile carrier coaches with side entry, 5,000 LHB coaches, and 58,000 wagons. In the general budget for the current financial year, an allocation of Rs 1.4 lakh crore was made for the Railways, of which Rs 1.37 lakh crore was earmarked for capital expenditure and Rs 3,267 lakh crore for revenue expenditure.
He said that 100 important transport infrastructure projects have been identified for last and first-mile connectivity for coal, fertilizer, and food grains sectors, which will be taken up on a priority basis with an investment of Rs 75,000 crore, of which Rs 15,000 crore will be of the private sector.