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BUDGET 2017-18 Pertains to RAILWAYS

February 1, 2017

CENTRAL BUDGET 2017-18, SUBJECT  PERTAINS TO RAILWAYS.

Central Budget 2017-2018  area pertains to Railways.

 (Speech of Arun Jaitley Minister of Finance February 1, 2017)

  1. INFRASTRUCTURE
  2. The fifth component of TEC India agenda is Infrastructure.
  3. Railways, roads and rivers are the lifeline of our country. I feel privileged to present the first combined Budget of independent India that includes the Railways also. We are now in a position to synergise the investments in railways, roads, waterways and civil aviation. For 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of Railways has been pegged at ` 1,31,000 crores. This includes ` 55,000 crores provided by the Government.
  4. Among other things, the Railways will focus on four major areas, namely :

(i) Passenger safety;

(ii) Capital and development works;

(iii) Cleanliness; and

(iv) Finance and accounting reforms.

  1. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be created with a corpus of ` 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years. Besides seed capital from the Government, the Railways will arrange the balance resources from their own revenues and other sources. Government will lay down clear cut guidelines and timeline for implementing various safety works to be funded from this Kosh. Unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge lines will be eliminated by 2020. Expert international assistance will be harnessed to improve safety preparedness and maintenance practices.
  2. In the next 3 years, the through put is proposed to be enhanced by 10%. This will be done through modernisation and upgradation of identified corridors. Railway lines of 3,500 kms will be commissioned in 2017-18, as against 2,800 kms in 2016-17. Steps will be taken to launch dedicated trains for tourism and pilgrimage.
  3. Railways have set up joint ventures with 9 State Governments. 70 projects have been identified for construction and development.
  4. A beginning has been made with regard to station redevelopment. At least 25 stations are expected to be awarded during 2017-18 for station redevelopment. 500 stations will be made differently abled friendly by providing lifts and escalators.
  5. It is proposed to feed about 7,000 stations with solar power in the medium term. A beginning has already been made in 300 stations. Works will be taken up for 2,000 railway stations as part of 1000 MW solar mission.
  6. Our focus is on swachh rail. SMS based Clean My Coach Service has been started. It is now proposed to introduce ‘Coach Mitra’ facility, a single window interface, to register all coach related complaints and requirements. By 2019, all coaches of Indian Railways will be fitted with bio toilets. Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy are being set up at New Delhi and Jaipur railway stations. Five more such solid waste management plants are now being taken up.
  7. Today Indian Railways face stiff competition from other modes of transportation which are dominated by the private sector. Transformative measures have to be undertaken to make Indian Railways competitive to retain their position of pre-eminence. The following steps will therefore be taken :

(i) Railways will implement end to end integrated transport solutions for select commodities through partnership with  logistics players, who would provide both front and back end connectivity. Rolling stocks and practices will be customised to transport perishable goods, especially agricultural products.

(ii) Railways will offer competitive ticket booking facility to the public at large. Service charge on e-tickets booked through IRCTC has been withdrawn. Cashless reservations have gone up from 58% to 68%.

(iii) As part of accounting reforms, accrual based financial statements will be rolled out by March 2019.

  1. It will be our continuous endeavour to improve the Operating Ratio of the Railways. The tariffs of Railways would be fixed, taking into consideration costs, quality of service, social obligations and competition from other forms of transport.
  2. Metro rail is emerging as an important mode of urban transportation. A new Metro Rail Policy will be announced with focus on innovative models of implementation and financing, as well as standardisation and indigenisation of hardware and software. This will open up new job opportunities for our youth.
  3. A new Metro Rail Act will be enacted by rationalising the existing laws. This will facilitate greater private participation and investment in construction and operation.
  4. In the road sector, I have stepped up the Budget allocation for highways from ` 57,976 crores in BE 2016-17 to ` 64,900 crores in 2017-18. 2,000 kms of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development. This will facilitate better connectivity with ports and remote villages. The total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built from 2014-15 till the current year is about 1,40,000 kms which is significantly higher than previous three years.
  5. An effective multi modal logistics and transport sector will make our economy more competitive. A specific programme for development of multi-modal logistics parks, together with multi modal transport facilities, will be drawn up and implemented.
  6. Select airports in Tier 2 cities will be taken up for operation and maintenance in the PPP mode. Airport Authority of India Act will be amended to enable effective monetisation of land assets. The resources, so raised, will be utilised for airport upgradation.
  7. For transportation sector as a whole, including rail, roads, shipping, I have provided ` 2,41,387 crores in 2017-18. This magnitude of investment will spur a huge amount of economic activity across the country and create more job opportunities.
  8.  Telecom sector is an important component of our infrastructure eco system. The recent spectrum auctions have removed spectrum scarcity in the country. This will give a major fillip to mobile broadband and Digital India for the benefit of people living in rural and remote areas.

                                ********************

 

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