Railway Minister Lalu Prasad will present his ministry's budget for the next fiscal in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday where the focus is expected to be on bringing new areas into the network without hiking passenger fares.
This will be the fifth straight rail budget, both for Lalu Prasad and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, after the financial transformation that was initiated on the previous four occasions.
"One thing stands clearly proven in these four years: by just increasing fares, you cannot improve the state of railways," Lalu Prasad had told IANS ahead of the budget for the world's second largest rail network with a single management.
"There are many inaccessible remote areas still untouched by the railways after so many years on the plea that these are financially unviable. My government has a social obligation," he said.
"Therefore my effort is to see that even if it is considered uneconomical, we've to see how to make the expansion viable," he said, adding he clearly understood the importance of railways in the country.
The network runs more than 11,000 trains every day - 7,000 for passengers - over 108,706 track km, to ferry an estimated million passengers from 6,853 stations. This is the only ministry that presents a separate budget in parliament.