The interim Railway Budget for 2014-15 presented by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge last week has maintained status quo on passenger and freight rates. The budget has proposed a plan outlay of Rs.64,305 crore for the next year against Rs.59,359 crore (RE) for 2013-14, factoring a budgetary support of Rs.30,223 crore.

The Budget Estimates for the next year for goods, passenger, and other coaching, and sundry earning have been kept at Rs.1,05,770 crore, Rs.45,255 crore, and Rs.9,700 crore, respectively, taking the total Traffic Receipt to Rs.1,60,775 crore. Ordinary Working Expenses have been assessed at Rs.1,10,649 crore (Rs.97,060 crore).

Total Working Expenses are budgeted at Rs.1,44,199 crore (Rs.1,27,260 crore), which will leave a Net Revenue before dividend of Rs.19,655 crore, and operating ratio of 89.8 per cent. Dividend payable to General Revenues is estimated at Rs.9,117 crore. Balance under the Railway Funds will be Rs.12,728 crore as against Rs.8,018 crore in 2013-14 (RE).

The freight traffic target for the current year has been revised upward from 1,052 million tonnes to 1,101 million tonnes, whereas that for passenger fares has been kept unchanged at Rs.37,500 crore. Operating Ratio of Railways is likely to be 90.8 per cent for the year as against 87.8 per cent budgeted.

Capex plans
The investment would be stepped up through PPP projects related to rolling stock manufacturing units, modernisation of railway stations, multi-functional complexes, logistics parks, private freight terminal, freight train operations, liberalised wagon investment schemes and dedicated freight corridors.

Three new factories viz. rail wheel plant in Chhapra district, Bihar, rail coach factory at Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, and diesel component factory at Dankuni, West Bengal, have become functional during 2013-14. Specially designed coaches for adverse weather conditions have been inducted for rail travel in Kashmir Valley. Also, corrosion resistant and lighter wagons with capability to carry extra payload and higher speed potential up to 100 kmph have been developed.

Specific initiatives in the railway budget include:

  • 17 new premium trains, 39 express trains and 10 passenger trains
  • No unmanned level crossings left with the elimination of 5,400 unmanned crossings
  • Feasibility study underway for high-speed trains in Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor; semi high-speed projects to be taken up on select routes like Delhi-Agra and Delhi-Chandigarh
  • More bio-toilets in trains and green curtains along the track close to major stations
  • Implementation of Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors project is making good progress with the award of nearly 1,100 km of civil construction contracts. During 2014-15, another 1,000 km of civil construction contracts are targeted, besides award of systems contracts.
  • Surveys to be undertaken for 19 new lines including Tiptur-Dudda; Dahod-Modasa; Karnal-Yamuna Nagar via Asandih; Pune-Baramati via Saswad, Jejuri, Moregaon; Etawah-Auraiya-Bhognipur-Ghatampur-Jahanabad-Bakewar-Bindki Road; and Birari-Mahatoni-Marwara-Mandanpur-Dhamoni-Saga.
  • Five doubling projects: Latur Road-Kurduwadi; Pune-Kolhapur, Allahabad-Pratapgarh; Salem-Omalur; and Prabhani-Parli.
  • Independent Rail Tariff Authority to be set up to advise on fares and freight.
RAILWAY BUDGET AT A GLANCE (` CRORE)
 
2012-13
2013-14 (RE)
2014-15 (BE)
Gross Traffic Receipt
123,733
140,500
160,775
Miscellaneous Receipt
2,448
3,658
4,180
Total Receipt
126,180
144,168
164,955
Total Working Expenses
111,572
127,260
144,199
Miscellaneous Expenses
993
1,125
1,102
Total Expenditure
112,565
128,385
135,301
Net Revenue
13,615
15,783
19,655
Capital-at-Charge
183,488
208,740
238,903
Operating Ratio (%)
90.2
90.8
89.8

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