New Delhi, Feb 01: The Union budget has allocated ₹1.58 trillion for Indian Railways to expand the railway infrastructure in the country.
In his interim-budget speech on Friday, the finance minister Piyush Goyal said Indian Railways has witnessed its safest year in the history in 2018-19 and the national carrier has been able to remove all unmanned railway crossing across all the broad gauge tracks in the country.
He also outlined the achievements of his government stating that the people of India would soon have world-class train experience through semi-high speed train Vande Bharat Express which is a product of Indian engineering. The minister also hoped that Indian Railways would improve its operating ratio and try to improve it from 98.4% to further 95%.
As part of his Railway Budget 2019 speech, Piyush Goyal said that Vande Bharat Express is a 'Make in India' initiative that will help create more jobs as more suhc train sets are manufactured for service across the Indian Railways network.
Piyush Goyal also announced that the operating ratio for the current fiscal year has improved to 96.2% and in the next financial year the aim will be to have it at 95%. He announced an outlay of Rs 64,587 crore for Indian Railways.
Piyush Goyal announced in his Railway Budget 2019 speech that this has been the safest year for Indian Railways. Highlighting Modi government's big achievement, Piyush Goyal said that his ministry has eliminated all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network. This feat was achieved on January 31, 2019, when the last unmanned level crossing was removed. No railway fare hike was announced in Railway Budget 2019, given the fact this is the year of Lok Sabha elections 2019. Doing away with the colonial ear practise of having a separate Railway Budget, Modi government merged the document with the main Union Budget from 2017 onwards. Yet, Indian Railways being the national transporter, finds a special mention in the Budget speech and this year will be no different.
The planned expenditure would be a 148% hike from the levels of 2014. Not only that, the national transporter's plans for manufacturing world-class export-worthy train sets may also find mention in the Railway Budget 2019 as part of the Union Budget 2019 speech.
Each year, passengers look at the Railway Budget for an announcement of new trains, better amenities etc. While the Modi government has done away with the practise of announcing new trains in the Railway Budget, focus on faster trains, safety and other passenger-friendly amenities have been focus areas.
Piyush Goyal started his speech at 11:00 AM and the Railway Budget 2019 was a part of the main Union Budget 2019 speech.