Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday presented the Union Budget for 2023-24 (Apr-Mar) in the Lok Sabha. Team FPJ spoke to industry experts from various fields. To gauge the reaction in the field of Railways, we spoke with Subodh Jain, who is former member of Railway Board. Here's what he/she had to say-
The increase in capital outlay to ₹2.41 lakh crore is in line with industry expectations. Integration of Metro Rail stations with the Indian Railways (IR) network has been a contentious issue as it was left to the zonal railways. With fund allocations in this budget, the activity is set to pick up pace.
The budgeted increase in total expenditure is almost 10% more than the current financial year, while the increase in forecasted freight earnings is not at the same pace. This is an area of concern. Meanwhile, a 150% increase in the outlay for rolling stock as compared to the revised estimate of FY23 and a 375% increase over the previous budget estimates appears to be ambitious.
A Large number of contracts are in the pipeline, however, capacity constraints may arise. The increase in outlay in track renewal is a meagre 12%, which after adjusting for inflation may work out to be negligible. Additionally, substantial upgradation of rail tracks will be required to enable the Vande Bharat trains to run at an increased speed of 160 kmph.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)