New Delhi : The interim railway budget presented Wednesday envisages investment of Rs.64,305 crore as against revised estimates of Rs.59,359 crore for 2013-14, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said in the Lok Sabha.

Anticipating a healthier growth of the economy, Kharge said the freight traffic target is proposed at 1,101 million tonnes — an increment of 49.7 million tonnes over the current year’s revised target of about 1,052 million tonnes.

The gross traffic receipts have been projected at Rs.160,775 crore while Working Expenses have been proposed at Rs.110,649 crore, which is Rs.13,589 crore higher than the revised estimates for the current year.

Indian Railways will borrow less at Rs 13,800 crore from market through its two companies IRFC and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd for capital expenditure during 2014-15.         In the current fiscal, as per the revised estimate, these two companies raised Rs 14,942 crore from markets.

The minister said investment in Railways is being stepped up by partnership with the private sector. Public-private-partnership (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 are in the pipeline.

Apart from attracting private investments from domestic investors in rail sector, a proposal is under consideration of the government to enable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to foster creation of world class rail infrastructure.

Reiterating the Railways’ commitment or safety and security of passengers the Minister said several measures have been and are being taken for its further strengthening. Manning or elimination of all unmanned level crossings has been taken up and indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and Vigilance Control Device (VCD) in all electric and diesel locomotives is being introduced.

Meanwhile, India Inc said the government’s focus on modernisation and expansion of the country’s vast rail network without touching passenger fares and freight rates was a step in the right direction.

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