The capital outlay for the railways has been increased to the highest-ever sum of Rs 2.40 lakh crore in the Union Budget for 2023-24, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.
Presenting the budget in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said the outlay for the railways is nine times the amount provided in 2013-2014.
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She said 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last and first-mile connectivity for coal, fertiliser and food grain sectors have been identified and will be taken up on a priority basis with investment of Rs 75,000 crore, including Rs 15,000 crore from private sources, she said.
Budget papers showed that the net revenue expenditure of the railways is placed at Rs 2,65,000 crore in the Budget Estimate (BE) 2023-24 as against Rs 2,42,892.77 crore in Revised Estimate (RE) 2022-23.
Reimbursement of losses on operation of strategic lines has been kept at Rs 487.51 crore in BE 2023-24 as against Rs 2,461.90 crore in RE 2022-23. An amount of Rs 780 crore has been provided in BE 2023-24 towards debt servicing of market borrowings for national projects.
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The total outlay provided for capital expenditure in the Budget Estimate 2023-24 of Rs 2,60,200 crore includes Rs 2,40,000 crore from general revenues, Rs 200 crore from Nirbhaya Fund, Rs 3,000 crore from internal resource and Rs 17,000 crore from internal and extra budgetary resources.
The total receipt of the railways comprising revenues from passenger, goods, other coaching, sundry other heads and Railway Recruitment Boards have been placed at Rs 2,65,000 crore in BE 2023-24 as against Rs 2,42,892.77 crore of RE 2022-23.
Goods revenue in 2021-22 (actuals), BE 2022-23, RE 2022-23 and BE 2023-24 are Rs 1,41,096.39 crore, Rs 1,65,000 crore, Rs 1,65,000 crore and Rs 1,79,500 crore respectively. Customer amenities includes integration of metro station with railway station projects costing Rs 500 crore in BE 2023-24.
The allocation for rolling stock for the railways has almost doubled from Rs 15,157.86 crore in RE 2022-23 to Rs 37,581 crore in 2023-24.
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With increased passenger expectations, the railways is planning to refurbish more than 1,000 coaches of premier trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Humsafar and Tejas. The interiors of these coaches will be improved with a modern look and for enhanced passenger comfort.
With high-speed Vande Bharat trains set to hit the tracks, the allocation for track renewal has been increased from Rs 15,388.05 crore in RE 2022-23 to Rs 17,296.84 crore this year.
The railways were allocated Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the Union Budget for 2022-23, of which Rs 1.37 lakh crore was earmarked for capital expenditure and Rs 3,267 lakh crore for revenue expenditure.
(With agency inputs)