The Railway Budget for the current fiscal was passed by Parliament on Tuesday without any discussion as Opposition protests continued over the coal scam and the alleged vetting of CBI probe report by the law minister.
With this, decks have been cleared for the railways to operationalise its largest ever annual plan size of Rs.63,343 crore for the current financial year. The plan outlay includes Rs.26,000 crore that the ministry of finance will provide the national transporter as gross budgetary support (GBS).
Giving further relief to the cash-strapped railways, finance minister P Chidambaram also exempted it from payment of service tax for period between July, 1, 2010, to October 1, 2012.
Other than the GBS, which contributes a lion’s share in railway plan outlay, the rest of the amount comes from Road Safety Fund of R2,000 crore, internal resources of Rs.14,260 crore, market borrowings of Rs.15,103 crore and an expected mobilisation of R6,000 crore through the public-private partnership (PPP) route.
The freight target of 1,047 million tonne, which is about 40 MT more than the previous year, has been set for the current year. Earnings target from freight has accordingly been set at R93,554 crore. The passenger earnings target has been kept at R42,210 crore.
The gross traffic receipts, including the sundry earnings, are expected to be Rs.1,43,742 crore for the present fiscal, an increase of Rs.18,062 crore over the Revised Estimates of 2012-13.