NEW DELHI: In anticipation of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Modi government is placing a significant emphasis on the development of railway infrastructure, with a substantial increase in budget allocations. The government has earmarked a staggering Rs 2.51 lakh crore for the Indian Railway (IR) in the fiscal year 2024-25, signaling a robust commitment to modernising the railway system.
Notably, this allocation includes funding for three major economic railway corridor programs and the conversion of 40,000 standard rail bogies to meet Vande Bharat standards.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 2.51 lakh crore for the financial year 2023-24 compared to Rs 1.40 lakh crore in the last fiscal, an increase of Rs 1.03 lakh crore. She said the outlay for the railways is nine times the amount provided in 2013-2014. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has praised the railway budgetary allocation in Thursday’s interim budget, describing it as ‘unprecedented.’
These three economic corridors encompass various sectors, such as energy, minerals, cement, port connectivity, and high-traffic density routes. Additionally, the budget’s approval extends to laying down approximately 40,000 kilometers of new railway tracks, a crucial component of the broader infrastructure development plan. Furthermore, during the upcoming fiscal year, 40,000 normal rail bogies will undergo conversion to Vande Bharat standards.
She emphasised the significance of these corridors. They are expected to alleviate congestion on high-traffic routes, improve passenger train operations, optimize logistical services, and reduce costs.
These ambitious railway corridor projects align with the PM Gati Shakti initiative, which aims to promote multi-modal connectivity. She highlighted their potential to accelerate GDP growth and reduce logistic costs.
In the least polluting mode
Railways allocation: Rs 2.51 lakh crore
Three mega economic railway corridors -- mineral & cement, port connectivity, and high-traffic density corridors
Support for converting 40,000 normal rail bogies as per the Vande Bharat standards