Budget 2018: Indian Railways gets largest-ever allocation of Rs 1.48 lakh crore

Updated: 01 Feb 2018 05:33 PM
New Delhi: Stressing on boosting the safety aspect of Railways and its carrying capacity, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced the largest-ever allocation of Rs 1.48 lakh crore capital expenditure for the Indian Railways in 2018-19.

"Railways capex for 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs 1,48,528 crore," Jaitley said in his Budget speech. The amount is Rs 17,000 crore higher than the previous year's budget.

In 2017-18 Union Budget, the total capex of Railways was pegged at Rs 1,31,000 crore.

Jaitley said that modern-train sets with state-of-the-art amenities and features would be commissioned during 2018-19.

The 92-year-old practice of a separate Railway Budget was discontinued from last year and was merged with the Union Budget.

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The Finance Minister said that enhancing the carrying capacity has been a major focus of the government. "A large part of the capex is devoted to railways capacity creation," he said.

"A ‘safety first' policy, with allocation of adequate funds under Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh is the cornerstone of Railways' focus on safety," he said, adding, "Maintenance of track infrastructure is being given special attention."

He said that a decision has been taken to eliminate 4,267 unmanned level crossings in the broad gauge network in the next two years.

The Finance Minister said that redevelopment of 600 major railway stations is being taken up by Indian Railway Station Development Corporation Limited. "All stations with more than 25,000 footfalls will have escalators. All railway stations and trains will be progressively provided with wifi," he said.

The government will also install CCTVs at all stations and on trains to enhance security of passengers.

"Modern train-sets with state-of-the-art amenities and features are being designed at Integrated Coach Factory, Perambur. And first such train-set will be commissioned during 2018-19," Jaitley said.