Railway budget practical, action-oriented: India Inc

New Delhi/Mumbai : Welcoming the thrust on resource mobilisation in this year’s rail budget, India Inc on Tuesday welcomed the new government’s maiden exercise as practical and execution-oriented.

Hailing the Railway Budget as “well thought-out” and non-populist, global consultancy KPMG said it provides the much needed strategic financial headroom required for the railways to make critical investments in its modernisation and expansion plans.

“The much-needed support for PPP as a significant source of investment capital is the backbone of providing the strategic financial headspace,” KPMG said in a statement.

According to KPMG, using modern technology to enhance safety and security, as well as improving management by deciding to adopt an ERP (enterprise resource planning), is a welcome step.

“We hope that there is also a focus on energy efficiency in order to bring down the operational costs, thus improving operational profitability,” the statement said.

However, in addition to all the positive steps laid out in the rail budget, it would have been helpful if there was focus on non-traffic revenue generation to enhance profitability of railways, it said adding measures should be adopted to enhance domestic capability for modernisation of railways.

Welcoming the maiden rail budget of the new government, Ajay S Shriram, President CII said that “The Rail Budget has presented a broad vision on what needs to be done in this critical sector in order to upgrade infrastructure and improve operational efficiency. CII welcomes the ambition to be the largest freight carrier in the world, as presented in the Railway Budget.  The Minister has been realistic and candid in acknowledging the problems faced in implementation of projects and improving revenue realization”.

Sumit Mazumder, president-designate CII and Chairman, CII Special Task Force on Railways stated that “The Minister has presented a practical and execution-oriented Budget, laying emphasis on implementation of on-going projects and focusing on monitoring them for an early closure. If projects are made attractive to private investors, funds through PPP and FDI will be available. Multilateral funding should also be accessed for high speed corridors. CII appreciates the increased attention to improvement in passenger amenities and safety”.

“Setting up of a project management group at the level of Railway Board and a project monitoring and coordination group is a positive step as this would help in reducing delays in project execution”, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president Sidharth Birla said in a statement.

“The mounting pressure on the services provided by Indian Railways coupled with deteriorating financial health makes the task of preparing Annual Railway Budget progressively difficult over the years”, Assocham said.

“India’s freight network, especially the decision to set up a dedicated freight corridor seems quite significant”, said Ratul Puri, chairman, Hindustan Powerprojects.   “With right implementation, the rail budget should improve the railways sector through the thrust on connectivity in three coal evacuation lines, including areas like Jharsuguda in Odisha”, he added.

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