Budget 2019 expectations: Here is what Nirmala Sitharaman needs to do for Indian Railways
Budget 2019 expectations: Infrastructure has been one of the focus areas for the Modi government and it is reflected in this year's interim budget where a large amount was allotted to roads, Railways, water, irrigation, and urban infrastructure.
Budget 2019 expectations: Infrastructure has been one of the focus areas for the Modi government and it is reflected in this year's interim budget where a large amount was allotted to roads, Railways, water, irrigation, and urban infrastructure. The Railways Ministry, which is being led by the then acting Finance Minister, has proposed Rs 1,58,658 crore for 2019-20 - the highest-ever allocation for the national transporter, surpassing last year’s allocation of Rs 1,48,528 crore. Goyal had also said that the operating ratio of Indian Railways is expected to improve to 95% in 2019-20 from 96.2% in 2018-19, and 98.4% in 2017-18.
Peeyush Naidu, Partner, Deloitte India believes that the Indian Railways is far from achieving desired levels of safety for passengers even as it improved with the elimination of level crossings and other measures. Several measures can be taken on this in Budget 2019. "Replacing walking inspection with automated inspections, upgradation of track management system into a dynamic asset maintenance and management system, improved mechanisation of track maintenance organisation across zones and greater use of RCM/CBM and IoT for real time monitoring and predictive maintenance of assets are a few steps, which would go a long way in ensuring safety," he said.
The recently launched Train 18 or the Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi has been a major hit among passengers and government should considering bringing more such trains to the country, believes Naidu. He said that this would help meet the aspirations of passengers.
"Indian Railways should judiciously invest in track creation to strengthen stressed routes and also open up intrinsically remunerative routes. The government should attract private sector investment in various areas such as station development for effective passenger management and unlocking non-fare revenue, freight terminals for common use mainly through redevelopment of strategic goods sheds, construction of PFT terminals, and owning and maintenance of rolling stock," he added.
Naidu said that there has been heightened focus on increasing the modal share of Railways for the movement of inland freight. He said that improving network capacity through signalling projects, upgrading loop line infrastructure to enable running of longer trains (2x-4x of current size) and completing ongoing line expansion projects on time would go a long way in improving average speed of freight trains.
"The government should create an effective ecosystem for the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) to become game changers in freight logistics. Apart from speedy completion of the eastern and western DFCs as well as sanctioning additional 4 DFCs already planned, there is a pressing need to focus on developing enabling ecosystem such as marketing, commercials and operational strategies to optimize utilization of all this new infrastructure," he said.
Budget 2019 expectations are high with Modi government returning to power. The budget 2019 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5.