Railway Stocks edge lower after Finance Minister’s Budget Speech

Rs 1.48 lakh crore Railway capex fails to lift rail stocks!

NEW DELHI: Railway stocks edged lower at 12:25 IST on BSE after the finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech has pegged FY19 railway capital expenditure at Rs 1.48 lakh crore.

Titagarh Wagons (down 4.31%), Kernex Microsystems (India) (up 4.04%), Texmaco Rail & Engineering (down 2.17%), Container Corporation of India (down 0.63%), Nelco (down 0.41%) and Hind Rectifiers (down 0.21%) edged lower. Stone India (up 1.66%) and BEML (up 0.21%) edged higher.

Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Sensex was down 27.52 points or 0.08% at 35,937.50.

Jaitley, in his Budget speech for FY 2019, said that the government has kept an aim to electrify 4,000 kms of railway lines in FY19. Focus will be on safety, maintenance of railway tracks, increase in use of technology and fog safety devices, FM said. All railways stations with more than 25,000 footfalls to have escalators, he added. All railways stations and trains to have Wi-Fi and CCTVs progressively, FM said.

This is the second year since the budget for Railways has been merged with the General Budget. The colonial era practice of presenting separate Budgets has been done away with in 2017.

According to the FM, the government will eliminate 4,267 unmanned rail crossings at broad gauge network. All stations with more than 25,000 footfall will have elevators.

Strengthening the railway network and enhancing freight capacity have been major focus areas. Railways’ capital expenditure (capex) for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs 1,48,558 Crore. A large part of the capex has been devoted to capacity creation. At least 18,000 kilometres of doubling and third and fourth lines works of 5,000 kilometres of gauge conversion would eliminate capacity constraints. Railways will convert the entire network into broad gauge.

“There is also a significant improvement in achievement of the physical target of the railway itself. We are moving fast towards optimal electrification of the railway network,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech.

At least 4,000 kilometres targeted for commissioning during 17-18.

Work on eastern and western dedicated freight corridor is in full swing.

Adequate number of rolling stocks, 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being produced during the year 2018-19.

A major programme has been initiated to strengthen the infrastructure goods shed.

A safety-first policy with the allocation of adequate funds under the Rashtriya Railway Sanrakshan Kosh is the cornerstone of the railways, Jaitley said.

Focus on Safety 

Maintenance of track infrastructure is being given special attention.  Over 3,600 kilometres of track renewal is targeted during the current year.

Other major steps include increasing use of technology, fog safety, train protection and a warning system.

A decision has been taken to eliminate 4267 unmanned railway crossings in the broad gauge network in the next two years.

Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has been taken up by Indian Railway Station Development Company Limited.

All stations with more than 25,000 footfalls will have accelerators.

All railway stations and trains will be provided with wifi, CCTV to enhance the security of the passengers.