Budget 2018: Rs.1.48 Lakh Crore to be allocated for Railways – Capacity expansion is the Priority

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in his Budget 2018 speech.

Finance Minister said that while there is significant achievements of physical targets by Indian Railways last year, most of the money during this financial year will be spent on capacity expansion, since it is a priority for the national transporter, Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget.

“Over Rs 1.48 lakh crore to be allocated for the Railways in next fiscal,” Jaitley said.

He proposed a target of doubling 18,000 km of lines and said gauge conversion is under way to eliminate capacity constraints.

The minister said 36,000 km of rail track renewal has been targeted in the coming year while 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes are to be eliminated in the next two years.

New world-class train sets are being manufactured, dedicated freight corridors are coming up and electrification being taken up as a priority task for which Indian Railways is expected to explore other avenues to raise funds, the finance minister said.

Wifi and CCTVs will be progressively provided in all trains and there will be escalators at stations with 25,000- plus footfall.

The minister also pointed out that 600 stations have been earmarked for modernisation by the railways. The focus will also be on a suburban rail network in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Foundation stone of the bullet train was laid in September 2017. An institute is coming up in Vadodara to train the manpower required for the high speed railway projects.

12,000 wagons, 5160 coaches and 700 locomotives being procured. There is significant achievements of physical targets by railways.

Laying out a roadmap for the Indian Railways, Jaitley said the focus would be on modernisation of signalling, use of fog safety devices, better passenger amenities and safety in the coming year.

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