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Key Highlights from India's Union Budget 2023-24 for Railways

New Delhi, India (1 February, 2023): In a significant move, the Union Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, has allocated a record-breaking Rs 2.40 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2023-24. This allocation marks a momentous nine-fold increase compared to the budget for the fiscal year 2013-14. The budget aims to address the completion of unfinished projects and infrastructure development, with a particular focus on the swift operation of high-speed trains.

Highest-Ever Allocation for Railways

Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated Rs. 2.40 lakh crore for railways, marking a nine-fold increase compared to the budget for 2013-14. This represents the highest-ever allocation of funds to the railway sector.

Focus on Completion and Development

This year's railway budget is expected to prioritize the completion of incomplete projects and the development of infrastructure. The emphasis will be on operationalizing high-speed trains.

Refurbishment of Premier Trains

In response to increased passenger expectations, Indian Railways plans to refurbish over 1,000 coaches in premier trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Humsafar, and Tejas. The goal is to enhance passenger comfort by modernizing the interiors of these coaches.

Track Replacement and Expansion

Significant funding is expected for the replacement of old tracks, aiming to increase train speed and expand the reach of the Vande Bharat Express to more destinations.

Vistadome Coaches for Tourists

To attract tourists, Indian Railways is proposing to manufacture 100 more Vistadome coaches. These coaches offer panoramic views and are designed to enhance the travel experience.

Hydrogen Fuel-Based Trains

The budget includes plans to manufacture 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains, promoting cleaner and sustainable transportation.

New Designs for Automobile Carrier Coaches

Indian Railways intends to manufacture 4,500 newly designed automobile carrier coaches with side entry, enhancing efficiency in automobile transportation.

LHB Coaches and Wagons

The budget allocates resources for the production of 5,000 LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) coaches and 58,000 wagons, improving passenger and freight services.

Support for Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure for 2022-23 is projected at Rs. 2,45,800 crore, a 14% increase over the revised estimates for 2021-22. This reflects a strong focus on infrastructure development.

Operating Ratio Improvement

The Railways' Operating Ratio is estimated to improve to 96.98% in 2022-23, indicating better profitability and resource availability compared to the previous year's operating ratio of 98.93%.

Innovative Initiatives

The budget includes initiatives to develop new products and efficient logistics services for small farmers and small and medium enterprises. It also emphasizes the integration of postal and railway networks for seamless parcel movement.

Multi-Modal Connectivity

Plans for the development of 100 PM-GatiShakti Cargo Terminals for multimodal logistics facilities are outlined, along with a focus on facilitating multimodal connectivity between mass urban transport and railway stations.

Positive Industry Reactions

Industry leaders and experts have lauded the budget for its focus on infrastructure, green growth, and sustainable development. The increased capital outlay for railways is seen as a significant step to accelerate India's growth.

Today's budget will make India the growth engine for the whole world. As the prime minister said the world is looking at India as a ray of hope, the Budget envisages that vision. The Budget tries to bring change in the lives of every section of society. I thank the Prime Minister, said Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

"The lack of investment in Railways for years had hindered it from achieving its potential. This Rs 2.41 lakh crore capital will bridge that gap. This will become a medium to fulfill the aspirations of our 800 crore passengers who travel in railways," he added.

This budget is expected to play a pivotal role in boosting India's railway sector, enhancing passenger services, and promoting sustainable and efficient transportation.

The Union Budget's robust allocation for railways and focus on infrastructure development is a significant step towards boosting the country's transportation sector. It aligns with our goal of enhancing urban mobility and sustainable transit solutions. This budget sets a promising path for India's railway sector and overall economic growth. - Mrs. Mamta Shah, MD & CEO, Urban Infra Group.

“The inclusive, growth-oriented Budget builds on the foundation of previous years and is consistent with the Government’s efforts to maintain macro-economic stability while focusing on growth. The increase in investments in capital infrastructure, including ‘Green Growth’, sustainable cities and railways & transport infrastructure will give the necessary boost to the domestic economy. I also welcome the enhanced support for MSMEs, exports, domestic manufacturing and value-add, technology and youth, which are all imperative to maintain India’s economic growth,” commented Sunil Mathur, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Limited, India.

"India’s economic growth rate is the result of a resilient economy and prudent fiscal policies of the government. The Union Budget for 2023-2024 continues its focus on this path and the commitment to ‘green growth’ approach, will further boost the economy. Infrastructure is the most critical aspect of any economy and the highest ever capital investment outlay of 10 lakh crores is most commendable. Combined with the enhanced capital outlay of Rs 2.40 lakh crore provided for railways, these steps will go a long way in upgrading infrastructure, assets, systems, and facilities by leveraging technology and promoting a sustainable approach," commented Olivier Loison, Managing Director, Alstom India.