Budget 2023: What are the expectations of railway sector? - Hindustan Times
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Budget 2023: What are the expectations of railway sector?

By | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan
Jan 31, 2023 12:36 PM IST

According to Sujjain Talwar, co-founding partner of Economic Laws Practice, with the expected entry of superfast Vande Bharat Express, upgrading of tracks may become the focal point.

The Gati Shakti National Master Plan was a key highlight of the union budget for the fiscal year 2022 and it is expected that it will continue to remain in focus for budget 2023, too, as per a Mint report. With India assuming the presidency of G20, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman may focus on green hydrogen and electric vehicles to enable the nation's adoption of green energy.

Vande Bharat Express train connecting Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam during its flagging off ceremony on January 15, (PTI)
Vande Bharat Express train connecting Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam during its flagging off ceremony on January 15, (PTI)

There is a need to increase public-private partnerships (PPP) and access to long-term debt for projects, while capital expenditure for roads and railways - likely to produce employment opportunities - remains in focus, the report states.

According to Sujjain Talwar, co-founding partner of Economic Laws Practice, with the expected entry of superfast Vande Bharat Express, upgrading of tracks may become the focal point. Since the assets of Indian Railways were not utilised properly, the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), launched in August 2021, envisioned the recycling of assets of 400 railway stations and 90 passenger trains. While Indian Railways should bring in clear guidelines on reducing its carbon footprint, it is expected to implement guidelines for the transport of green hydrogen and include hydrogen power trains in lieu of National Hydrogen Mission. The upcoming budget should also strive to incentivise private players with more commercially viable policies.

Indian Railways should also make concerted efforts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy while expanding capacity of freight and passenger trains. Sanjay Sen, senior advocate at Supreme Court of India, was quoted by Mint in a statement, “Since Railways is a deemed distribution licensee which procures power primarily for its own requirement, it has a greater ability to absorb renewable energy and as such a separate dispensation for the same should be planned.”

Pallavi Bedi, partner, Phoenix Legal, added that appropriate disbursements for modernising infrastructure of trains, tracks, and stations, transition to electric trains and a PPP push are the expectations of the railway sector from budget 2023.

Marking the beginning of Parliament's budget session, President Droupadi Murmu in her maiden budget speech to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, focused on Aatmanirbhar Bharat and said, “Indian Railways is fast moving towards becoming world's largest electric railway network.”

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