Finance minister Piyush Goyal’s Budget on Friday lined up the highest ever capital expenditure (capex) of Rs 1.59 trillion for Indian Railways for the financial year 2019-20.
This is over 8.2 per cent compared to Rs 1.46 trillion that the government had proposed in last year’s Budget. Government has also allocated Rs 64,587 crore for Railways for FY20, which is 21 per cent higher than the budget estimates of Rs 53,060 crore last year. Interestingly, Goyal has projected an ambitious operating ratio of 95 per cent for the current financial year. Operating ratio is calculated based on how much money railways is spending to earn each rupee. This will be higher than 98.4 per cent in 2017-18 to 96.2 per cent in the revised estimate for 2018-19.
“Capital support from the budget for railways is proposed at Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20 (BE). The Railways’ overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs 1,58,658 crore,” Goyal said. He further added that Indian Railways has experienced the safest year in its history.
“All unmanned Level Crossings on broad gauge network have been eliminated. Introduction of the first indigenously developed and manufactured semi high-speed "Vande Bharat Express" will give the Indian passengers world class experience with speed, service and safety,” Goyal said in his speech.
The national transporter eliminated the last unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) on broad gauge (BG) network last month. More than 93 per cent of the total railway network is under broad gauge network. Interestingly, about 1,500 UMLCs on meter gauge and narrow gauge networks are yet to be eliminated.