The Union Railway Ministry has been allocated Rs 1,40,367.13 crore in the Union Budget 2022 tabled by Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on February 1, 2022. This is Rs 20,311 crore more than the revised figures of the previous fiscal. With a 14% higher capital expenditure over last year, the national transporter plans to utilise the funds to complete key stalled projects and enhance passenger amenities and safety.
During her budget speech, the finance minister has also announced that 2,000 km network will be brought under Kavach — an indigenous technology developed for safety, in 2022-23, and 400 new-generation Vande Bharat trains with better energy efficiency and passenger riding experience will be developed and manufactured during the next three years.
The finance ministry has allocated a sum of Rs 23,875 crore for MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit Systems) and metro projects - which includes the Rs 19,130 crore allocated amount for metro projects.
For all metro projects in the country, Budget 2022-23 has allocated an equity investment of Rs 3,702 crore, a subordinate debt of Rs 1,272 crore, pass through assistance of Rs 14,156 crore - comprising the total budget for metro projects at Rs 19,130 crore.
The total allocation also includes Rs 35 crore for Transport Planning and Capacity Building in Urban Transport, and Rs 4,710 crore for the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) - which is implementing the regional rapid transit system (RRTS) project in the national capital region (NCR). A total of Rs 19,102 crore allocated for the implementation of High Speed Bullet Train Projects in India and Rs 12,135 crore allocated for under-construction Dedicted Freight Corridors.
In her budget speech, the finance minister explained that multimodal connectivity between mass urban transport and railway stations in the country will be facilitated on priority.
Sitharaman added that innovative ways will be encouraged for financing as well as faster implementation for building metro systems of appropriate type at scale.
Terming the allocation as ‘historic’, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters that with the increased allocation, the focus will be on capacity expansion and enhancement of security, along with ‘supercritical’ projects.
Vaishnaw said for the upcoming fiscal, the Railways is targeting a 98% operating ratio, but he is hopeful of bettering this on the back of improved freight performance. The operating ratio indicates how much the Railways spends to earn a rupee.
“We are targeting 98% operating ratio in the coming year. But I think we should be able to achieve more than this…We are already achieving over four million tonne loading everyday… which is unheard of…we are now targeting freight loading of 4.5 MT everyday consistently and then move on to 5 MT/day gradually,” he said.
To a query on the Vande Bharat trains, he said, “The current Vande Bharat under operation is version 1. For version 2.0, the designing is complete and testing will begin in April. We plan to start serial production of these September onwards… Today’s target will see even better versions of this train.”
On the proposal to bring 2,000 km network under Kavach, the minister pointed out that it is SIL4 (Safety integrity level) certified which means there is the probability of a single error in 10,000 years.
Finance minister said the Railways will develop new products and efficient logistics services for small farmers and Small and Medium Enterprises, besides taking the lead in integration of postal and Railways networks to provide seamless solutions for movement of parcels.
She also announced that the ‘One Station-One Product’ concept will be popularised to help local businesses & supply chains, and 100 PM GatiShakti Cargo Terminals for multimodal logistics facilities will be developed during the next three years.
As per the Budget documents, the Railways receipts comprising revenues from passenger, goods, other coaching, sundry other heads etc will be ₹2.40 lakh crore in BE 2022-23 as against RE 2021-22 of ₹2.02 lakh crore. It expects passenger revenue of ₹58,500 in 2022-23 and goods revenue to be about ₹1,65,000 crore.