Union Budget 2018: Railways allocation hiked to record Rs 1.48 lakh crore
Rail Budget 2018: Wifi and CCTVs will be provided in all trains and there will be escalators at stations with 25,000-plus footfall, said finance minister Arun Jaitley.Updated: Feb 02, 2018 00:31 IST
The Union Budget has allocated a record Rs1.48 lakh crore for Indian Railways to raise its carrying capacity and improve the train travel experience.
Of this, Rs1.46 lakh crore is capital expenditure, while Rs2,028 crore is to reimburse operating losses on strategic lines and reimburse Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation for the operational cost of e-ticketing.
In the last budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley had waived service charges on railway e-tickets to encourage cashless transactions. The charges waived were Rs40 for AC class and Rs20 for sleeper class.
Jaitley said a large part of the expenditure is for capacity creation, and mentioned different initiatives being taken.
These include track doubling, and third and fourth line works of 18,000 km; 5,000 km of gauge conversion; redeveloping 600 railway stations, equipping them with Wi-Fi and CCTV cameras; introduction of modern train-sets; and escalators for stations with footfalls over 25,000.
Jaitley said Mumbai’s suburban rail system is being expanded at cost of Rs10,000 crore, and an additional suburban network worth Rs40,000 crore was also being planned. Similarly, 160 km of rail network worth Rs17,000 crore has been planned for Bengaluru.
“Once the 18,000km expansion and 5,000km doubling is done, railways will once again emerge as a preferred mode of travel... Rs73,000 crore for security is historic,” said railway minister Piyush Goyal.