Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, while presenting the Interim Budget for 2019 on Friday, said that the Centre has set the overall capital expenditure programme for Indian Railways at Rs 1.58 lakh crore, the highest ever for the national transporter.
"The capital support from the Budget for Railways is proposed at Rs 64,587 crore in 2019-20 (Budget estimate) from Rs 53,060 crore in 2018-19. The overall capital expenditure programme for Railways is of Rs 1,58,658 crore," Goyal said in the Lok Sabha.
Budget 2018-19 had set a capital expenditure for the Ministry of Railways at Rs 1.48 lakh crore.
Goyal, who also holds the Railways portfolio, said the operating ratio is expected to improve from 98.4 percent in 2017-18 to 96.2 percent in 2018-19 and further to 95 percent in 2019-20. The operating ratio indicates how much Railway spends on each rupee it earns.
The Railway Budget was presented a few days before the Union Budget till 2016, when Modi government approved its merger with the General Budget from the next year.
Claiming that the Indian Railways experienced the safest year in its history, Goyal said all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network had been eliminated.
On Train 18, which is all set to replace the Shatabdi Express trains soon, Goyal said: "The introduction of the first indigenously-developed and manufactured, semi high-speed Vande Bharat Express will give Indian passengers a world-class experience with regard to speed, service and safety. This major leap in the wholly-developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the 'Make in India' programme and create jobs."
The 16-coach train, built in 18 months at a cost of Rs 97 crore by the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, is regarded as a successor to the 30-year-old Shatabdi Express. It is also the first locomotive-less train in the country.
No fare hike was announced in the Railway Budget for 2019. The planned expenditure would be a 148 percent hike from the levels of 2014.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Feb 01, 2019 14:54:37 IST