Budget 2019: Massive Railway Station modernisation program to be launched this year: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister said railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 and PPP will be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services.

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on July 5 laid out the broad contours of a plan to modernise Indian Railways within the next three years, including completion of the much-delayed dedicated freight corridor project.

“I propose to enhance metro railway initiative by encouraging more PPP model initiatives. Railways to be encouraged to invest more in suburban railways through SPV structures such as Rapid Regional Transport System,” she said in her Union Budget 2019 address in the Parliament.

She said railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 and PPP will be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services.

Last year, the Union Cabinet had approved a proposal for the complete electrification of Indian Railways in the next four years, reducing dependence on imported fossil fuel and saving revenue for the national carrier.

The move will cost the government Rs 12,134 crore.

Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world with 67,368km of tracks and 22,550 trains that carry 22.24 million passengers and 3.04 million tonnes of freight every day.

Currently, around two-third of freight and more than half of passenger traffic in Indian Railways are ferried by electric traction (engines). However, electric traction accounts for just 37 percent of the total energy expenses of Indian Railways.

The overall capital expenditure programme of Indian Railways is Rs 1,58,658 crore.

Once the project is completed, Indian Railways may become the largest electrified rail network in the world. It will help save foreign exchange, reduce pollution and make railways faster and safer.

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