New Delhi, Feb 25: Terming Railway Budget for 2016-17 as "growth-oriented", India Inc has said the three new freight corridors envisaged by 2019 will help reduce transportation costs, even as it described the revenue generation target of Rs 1.84 lakh crore as a "strong challenge".
Railway Budget today spared passengers and goods movement from any rise in tariffs while it announced introduction of three new superfast trains and creation of dedicated north- south, east-west and east coast freight corridors by 2019.
Rajeev Jyoti CEO Railway Business L&T said: "The Railway Minister has been very aggressive to retain a pretty high revenue target of Rs 1.8 lakh crore. I think this is a strong challenge considering there are challenges on GDP growth etc.
"Despite the Pay Commission recommendations, which will hit them by Rs 30,000 crore he is still looking at an operating ratio of 92 per cent which is extremely challenging. He enunciated a lot of actions towards cost saving. Targets of commissioning 2 corridors by 2019 very challenging."
"The focus on completion and implementation of projects is good. The creation of three new corridors will act as a catalyst for reducing the logistics cost," CII President Sumit Mazumder said.
Presenting his second budget in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promised rationalising of the tariff structure by undertaking a review to evolve competitive rates vis-a-vis other modes of transport and to expand the freight basket as a means of additional revenue mobilisation. Revenue generation has been targeted at Rs 1.84 lakh crore.
"The rationalisation of freight policy and review of PPP policy framework would help to attract private players for transforming rail transportation and increasing the revenue.
"Initiatives towards developing an integrated railway network, greater emphasis on dedicated freight corridors, and improving port connectivity as well as north-east connectivity would go a long way in expanding the freight business," Ficci President Harshvardhan Neotia said.
"While we saw qualitative measures on freight like enhancing its basket we could have looked at more concrete measures," said Tilak Raj Seth Vice Chairman CII Rail Transportation & Equipment Division.
"Railway Minister has given a no-tariff hike budget without compromising on capital expenditure for increasing carrying capacity of both passengers and freight even in a challenging economic environment marked by a severe slowdown in the commodity sectors," Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said.
Nalin Jain, President & CEO, GE Transportation said if without increasing freight pricing revenues can be grown then it will automatically better the finances of Railways. The three new freight corridors, north-south will connect Delhi and Chennai, East-West connecting Kharagpur to Mumbai and East Coast from Kharagpur to Vijawada.