The Centre has accorded the highest priority to safety in Railways as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his budget, allocated Rs 73,065 crore for 2018-19 out of an investment of Rs 148,528 crore for the period. The idea is to transform the Railways into a modern, safe, green, affordable and comfortable mode of transport.
The investment includes budgetary support of Rs 53,060 crore, internal resources of Rs 11,500 crore, IRFC (Indian Railway Finance Corporation) to raise Rs 28,500 crore, Institutional Finance (LIC) to support with Rs 26,440 crore; and investment through PPP of Rs 27,000 crore.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the government has accorded the highest priority to safety. “The total expenditure planned on safety activities, including Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), is Rs 73,065 crore for 2018-19. Apart from elimination of unmanned level crossings on all busy routes and shift to production of safer LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches, there is a focus on track renewal with the highest outlay ever. We have fixed an outlay of Rs 11,450 crore for 3,900 km track renewal works,” he said.
Talking about the electrification, Goyal said: “Total electrification in the next three-four years will lead to an estimated saving of Rs 10,000 crore per annum, help in reducing carbon emissions and promote sustainable development, besides increasing India’s energy security by saving foreign exchange on imported fuels,” he said, after presentation of the Budget.
A large part of the budgetary allocation will be devoted to capacity creation. As much as 18,000 km of doubling, third and fourth line works and 5,000 km of gauge conversion would augment capacity and transform almost the entire network into broad gauge.
The minister also informed that 600 stations will be developed with world class facilities. Escalators will be provided at all stations with passenger footfall above 25,000. All railway stations and trains will be provided with wi-fi facility for information and entertainment. To enhance safety and security of passengers, Indian Railways will set up CCTV cameras across all stations and trains.