The Railways, despite a resource crunch, would step up plan expenditure by more than 10 per cent at Rs 40,745 crore for laying new lines and gauge conversion in the current fiscal from what was spent during 2008-09.
The increased expenditure would be incurred even as the Railways would not be able to generate most of the funds through the Public Private Partnership model as was expected by the former Railways Minister Lalu Prasad in the interim budget.
"I was surprised to find that there was a provision of Rs 3,400 crore for resource mobilisation through PPP, of which Rs 3,300 crore would just not materialise," Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said in her Budget in the Lok Sabha.
However, the Railways will incur Rs 40,745 crore as planned expenditure this fiscal, up 10.80 per cent over Rs 36,773 crore spent last fiscal, as the Ministry has got Rs 5,000 crore more as budgetary support from the Finance Ministry over what it got in the interim Budget.
The proposed planned expenditure will represent 7.49 per cent increase over Rs37,905 as estimated in the interim Budget.
"I learnt that the Railways had received less than their proportionate share of Gross Budgetary Support, as per the XIth plan provisions. I immediately took up the matter with the Finance Minister and am happy to say that we received an increase of Rs 5,000 crore as budgetary support, over an above the Rs 10,800 crore committed in the interim Budget," Banerjee said.
Besides the budgetary support, the Railways fund the planned expenditure through internal resources of Rs 15,675 crore and market borrowings of Rs 9,170 crore.
In this connection, the Finance Ministry has given a go ahead to the Railways' subsidiary Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to issue tax free bonds for the first time after a gap of several years, Banerjee said.
Of the planned expenditure, Rs 2,921 crore would be spent on laying new lines, up from Rs 1,100 crore in the interim budget. Besides, Rs 1,750 crore would be allocated for gauge conversion, an increase of 24 per cent over the interim Budget.
Banerjee also sought additional funds to the tune of Rs 1,949 crore from the Finance Ministry for gauge conversion of tracks like Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla, Dimapur-Kohima etc.
The Railways would spend Rs 1,102 crore on passenger amenities, more than double of Rs 502 provided in the interim budget. The ministry would also spend RS 424 crore for staff quarters, up by half over what was given in interim budget.