What to Expect for Indian Railways in this Union Budget 2024?

Tanushree Jaiswal Tanushree Jaiswal 2nd February 2024 - 04:04 pm
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For budget 2024 experts project a record breaking budgetary allocation for Indian Railways, set to surpass ₹3 lakh crore in 2024-25, marking a 25% increase from the previous year. As we look forward to the upcoming Interim Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to reinforce the momentum of the railway sector's growth.

Recap of 2023-24

Past year witnessed milestones for Indian Railways, from the inauguration of multiple Vande Bharat trains and the introduction of the no-frills Amrit Bharat Express to the tragic train disaster in Odisha that claimed approximately 300 lives. Despite the challenges railway sector faced dynamic changes, setting the stage for increased focus and investment in the coming years.

Last year, Finance Minister Sitharaman increased railway outlay to ₹2.40 lakh crore for 2023-24, highlighting its nine fold increase from 2013-2014. Building on this momentum, experts predict a surge with the budgetary allocation exceeding ₹3 lakh crore in the upcoming fiscal year, aiming modernization initiatives for faster trains, upgraded stations, enhanced safety features and the development of crucial freight corridors.

Focus Areas for 2024-25

Modernization Drive: Main focus for Indian Railways will be the introduction of 300-400 Vande Bharat trains across various categories, including sleeper coaches. Plans include boosting the speed of Vande Bharat trains gradually, to enhance safety plans include installing fences at vulnerable spots allowing trains to operate at speeds between 110 kmph and 130 kmph.

Safety Measures: In response to recent safety concerns 2024-25 budget is set to nearly double its allocation for safety measures aligning with the government's Mission Zero Accidents. The urgency arises from incidents like derailments and the tragic Balasore train accident in Odisha. To address this, there's a heightened focus on adopting the advanced anti-train collision system, Kavach, aiming to strengthen railways and prioritize passenger safety.

Amrit Bharat Station Scheme: A portion of the budget is likely to be allocated to the recently launched Amrit Bharat Station Scheme aiming to upgrade and modernize 1,275 stations across the Indian Railways network. This initiative involves creating Master Plans and executing them in phases to enhance various station facilities.

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): The proposed IMEC project, connecting India, the Middle East, and Europe through a comprehensive transportation network, is expected to receive attention in terms of capital allocation. The project includes rail, road and sea routes.

Final Words

With an agenda including modernization, safety enhancements, station upgrades, and ambitious international connectivity projects, the spotlight is on Finance Minister Sitharaman. As we eagerly await the Interim Budget on 1 February, all eyes are on whether she will further Strengthen Indian Railways by injecting a thoughtful and substantial amount of funds.

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