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Railway Budget 2019 Highlights | Indian Railways

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Railway Budget 2019 Highlights | Indian Railways

shape Introduction

Railway Budget of India is the Annual Financial Statement of the state-owned Indian Railways, which handles rail transport in India. It was presented every year by the Minister of Railways, representing the Ministry of Railways, in the Parliament. The Railway Budget was presented every year, a few days before the Union budget, till 2016. Modi government on 21 September 2016 approved the merger of the Rail and General budgets from next year, ending a 92-year-old practice of a separate budget for the nation’s largest transporter. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that this merger proposal was in the long term interest of railways as well as the country’s economy.


As per the Railway Budget 2019 Highlights, Indian railways passengers will be able to travel in trains that are manufactured with private sector world-class technology! With a strong emphasis on need for private investment in Indian Railways, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Railway Budget 2019 speech spoke of unleashing the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) for faster development of railway infrastructure including rolling stock. Currently, Indian Railways is focused on developing world-class railway stations which will serve as multi-modal transport hubs. IRSDC [Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation] is currently developing the Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh and Gandhi Nagar station in Gujarat. With a tie-up and investment from France, the Indian Railways station redevelopment programme will be expedited. Days ahead of Railway Budget 2019, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways tied up with France for creating world-class stations on the Indian Railways network. Under the agreement with France, the country will provide 7 lakh euros for the big infrastructure project.

shape Highlights

Indian Railways to be a big growth driver
Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman’s Budget 2019 speech saw sporadic but important mentions for Indian Railways – the biggest takeaway being the encouragement for private sector.

World-class stations
Indian Railways is already developing world-class railway stations which will serve as multi-modal transport hubs. IRSDC is currently developing the Habibganj station in Madhya Pradesh and Gandhi Nagar station in Gujarat. With a tie-up and investment from France, the Indian Railways station redevelopment program will be expedited.

Indian Railways ties up with France
Days ahead of Railway Budget 2019, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways tied up with France for creating world-class stations on the Indian Railways network. Under the agreement with France, the country will provide 7 lakh euros for the big infrastructure project.

PPP to be encouraged
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that not only will PPPs be encouraged in the railway sector, but SPV structures will be eyes for development of India’s first Rapid Regional Transport System (RRTS).

No railway fare hike announced
Railway Budget 2019 did not announce any change in train fares, along expected lines. A railway fare hike is a politically sensitive issue and it was unlikely that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would announce a hike in railway fares.

Station redevelopment programme
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a massive railway station redevelopment program will be launched by Indian Railways this year. This announcement in continuation to the station beautification drive that the railway is carrying out under Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

SPVs for suburban projects
Indian Railways will be encouraged to use SPVs or Special Purpose Vehicles for suburban projects, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She again highlighted how dedicated freight corridors will decongest the Indian Railways network.

Infrastructure a key area
Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman has emphasized that the Narendra Modi government has invested in a big way to develop physical infrastructure – railways, highways, and waterways.

PPP in Metro rail initiatives
Railway Budget 2019 focused on suburban network development and the Rapid Rail Transit Corridor project

New engines of growth
Indian Railways is focusing on green energy, with not just electrification, but also electric locomotives that are being assembled and manufactured under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Recently, a diesel locomotive was converted into an electric locomotive for this purpose.

Make in India focus
PPP model focus for Indian Railways during the Railway Budget 2019 speech points to the fact that the national transporter is hoping to manufacture under ‘Make in India’ world-class trains with the help of the transfer of technology.

Indian Railways bets on huge modernisation project! New signaling system to bring a network to world-standards
Indian Railways bets on big signaling upgrade! Aiming to provide safer and faster train travel to its passengers, Indian Railways has taken the big step towards signaling upgradation. The national transporter has signed an MoU with RailTel Enterprises Limited (REL) for the work of modernization of signaling system. The REL is an entirely owned subsidiary firm of RailTel Corporation of India Limited. The modernization of signaling system will include Automatic Train Protection System along with Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication System (MTRC) together with the provision of Electronic Interlocking (indoor) wherever required. The project will be implemented in four sections across the Indian Railways’ network.

Betting on private sector
Railway Budget 2019 speech by FM Nirmala Sitharaman highlights the need for investments on a large-scale in Indian Railways. Recognizing that the government cannot increase the outlays substantially, the Railway Budget speech points to encouraging the private sector to participate in railway infrastructure redevelopment via the PPP model

Developing metro network
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that 657 kilometers of the metro rail network have become operational.

PPP in Indian Railways
FM Nirmala Sitharaman as part of her Railway Budget 2019 speech said that the Public-Private Partnership model will be unleashed in Indian Railways for faster development, rolling stock manufacturing and also the delivery of freight.

Need for Rs 50 lakh crore
According to FM Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian Railways requires Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 to 2030 to complete the sanctioned projects.

Waterways to decongest Indian Railways
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that inland waterways will be extensively developed so that the Indian Railways network can also be decongested.

Focus on safe railway travel
Railway Budget 2019 will see a continous focus on safety to avoid train accidents and untoward incidents. Also, installation of CCTVs on stations and in trains is likely to feature in the Railway Budget 2019 speech.

Dedicated Freight Corridors important
DFCs will mitigate the congestion of the railway network, benefiting the common man, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. DFCs are an important and big-ticket railway project that will improve freight movement.

Vande Bharat Express trains a flagship project
Manufactured under Rs 100 crore, the ‘Make in India’ Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 has emerged as a flagship offering for Indian Railways. Railway Budget 2019 is expected to not only highlight this achievement but also announce plans for manufacturing more such train sets.

Indian Railways carrying lakhs of passengers
According to Economic Survey 2019, there has been an increase of 2.09% in the number of passengers carried by Indian Railways in FY18.

Indian Railways to be an enabler for $5 trillion dream
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2019 speech has said that the $5 trillion dreams are within reach for India. This dream, we feel, is possible only if Indian Railways is upgraded to act as a key enabler for economic progress.

Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat
Ahead of Railway Budget 2019, the Economic Survey 2019 highlighted Indian Railway’s endeavor to rank railway stations on a cleanliness scale, hence ensuring that passengers enjoy a cleaner ambiance. The Survey also highlighted that stations are increasingly becoming environment-friendly and competing on getting a “Green” rating.

Finance Minister begins Budget speech
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has started her Budget 2019 speech. The Railway Budget 2019 speech will be a part of the main Budget speech.

New trains to be announced?
Railway Budget 2019 may not have any announcements on the introduction of new trains. That practice was done away with in Railway Budget 2016 by then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. While Prabhu had announced the intent to introduce branded trains, no new routes were announced. This came as a welcome change given the fact that most of the mainlines are already choked.

The wait for the bullet train
Railway Budget 2019 may also mention India’s first bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The bullet train project has been facing land acquisition hurdles. The project, a pet PM Modi initiative, is scheduled to be completed by 2023 and will reduce the travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to 2 hours!

Indian Railways may rope in private sector for trains on Delhi-Lucknow, Mumbai-Shirdi routes! Details here
Indian Railways to rope in private players for key train routes! Soon you may get to travel between Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Shirdi on Indian Railways trains that are being run by private sector players. In a big policy shift, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is looking to offer two trains to IRCTC for operation on haulage concepts with ticketing and onboard services, learns Financial Express Online. The landmark move has been proposed as part of Indian Railways 100-day roadmap that has been drawn up by the Railway Board. According to an IE report, Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Shirdi routes have emerged as the frontrunners for this experiment by Indian Railways.

FM Nirmala Sitharaman to begin speech shortly
Railway Budget 2019 speech by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to begin shortly as part of the main Union Budget 2019 speech. The Railway Budget 2019 speech will likely talk about the new era of railway travel that the national transporter is aiming at along with a continued focus on rail safety.

Indian Railways to redevelop 22 stations to world-standards! Bandra Terminus, Kolkata, Kanpur on the list
The CPSEs will come up with Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of these 22 railway stations for their development/redevelopment and also they will act as Project Management Consultant to IRSDC for implementation of the station redevelopment program.

Private sector to run some trains?
Railway Budget 2019 may outline the Indian Railways plan to invite the private sector to run select trains on tourist routes. As part of the 100-day plan, two rakes will be given to IRCTC. The idea is to offer more premium experience to train travelers

No more spilling of teacups on Rajdhani, Shatabdi Express! Indian Railways now ensures jerk-free rides
Now, travel smoothly on Indian Railways premium trains like never before! The national transporter has finally managed to get rid of the jolts and swaying that people have to bear with while traveling on premium trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express. This has been achieved by providing a new version of the Centre Buffer Couplers (CBC), the equipment used to attach train coaches. According to an IE report, by late April this year, Indian Railways managed to retrofit all its LHB (Linke-Hoffmann-Busch) stock – over 5,000 coaches, including all the 42 rakes of Rajdhani Express. The unstable nature of the couplers caused several issues such as teacups spilling, people losing balance while walking in the aisles of Rajdhanis, etc. Moreover, they posed a safety issue as well.

Indian Railways eyes corporatization of train coach, locomotive factories! Details of game-changing proposal
Indian Railways look to corporatize production units! Aiming to bring in increased efficiency in production, Indian Railways is looking to hive off its rolling stock and locomotive production units and associated workshops into a new government-owned entity called “Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company”. This will be under the Ministry of Railways. The proposal is part of Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways 100 day roadmap document for the national transporter, learns Financial Express Online. The objective is to use the new entity to drive technology partnership and modernization for world-standard coaches and locomotives production.

Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah travel time to come down
The Railway Budget 2019 may mention the reduction of travel time across several major Indian Railways’ routes! Two crucial routes- Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai are set for upgradation in the coming years, with speeds being raised up to 160 kmph. As per the railways’ 100-day roadmap, the train travel time on some of the major routes including Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai is likely to come down by 5 hours. The national transporter is expecting an investment of around Rs 14,000 crore for this project. If the upgradation of these routes are completed on time, then the travel time between New Delhi-Howrah will come down to 12 hours from the existing 17 hours, while the travel time between New Delhi-Mumbai will come down to as low as 10 hours from the existing 15.5 hours.

Vande Bharat Express a big success story
Vande Bharat Express, introduced between Delhi and Varanasi, is a big success story of ‘Make in India’ for Indian Railways. With several new aircraft-like features, Train 18 has several firsts for Indian Railways passengers.

The big step on unmanned level crossings
Railway Budget 2019 speech by then FM Piyush Goyal in February had pointed to the important fact that by January 31, 2019, all unmanned level crossings on the Indian Railways network were eliminated. This was a very important safety measure by the national transporter since it aims to prevent railway accidents due to trespassing on railway tracks.

All manned level crossings to be eliminated
Railway Budget 2019 is likely to announce that in the coming years all manned level crossings on the Indian Railways network will be eliminated. This is an ambitious yet extremely important measure by the Indian Railways as it will pave way for safer railway travel and speeding up of trains.

Pay more for IRCTC train tickets! Indian Railways to encourage passengers to give up fare subsidy
Pay more for IRCTC train tickets! Indian Railways is drawing up an ambitious plan to encourage railway passengers to give up the subsidy in train fares. As part of the 100-day roadmap prepared by the Railway Board, the national transporter is looking to rationalize passenger fares. The 100-day roadmap document for Indian Railways, seen by Financial Express Online, lists out the top 11 priorities for railways till August-end. The list of important projects that Indian Railways are hoping to undertake and expedite will be presented to PM Narendra Modi for his final nod. One prominent part of the action plan is to encourage railway passengers to give up the subsidized part of their fares voluntarily.

The case for speed
Indian Railways has been facing stiff competition from both the roadways and the aviation sector. With railway fares rising dynamically, people are opting for less time-consuming air travel. The introduction of the UDAN scheme has also added to Indian Railways woes, with short-distance travel becoming more affordable. In this scenario, faster trains that offer better passenger amenities and comfort and above all are punctual are the need of the hour.

indian Railways to focus on safety, security & modernization; see projects on priority
Railway Budget 2019: Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways will continue to focus on safety, security, and modernization in the Union Budget 2019, to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the parliament today. In this Railway Budget 2019, the installation of CCTV cameras will be given a priority, providing s sum of around Rs 250 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund to the long-pending work of bringing railway stations across the country under a network of cameras according to an IE report. Also, around Rs 1,200 crore is likely to be provided from the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund for the elimination of manned level crossings for this fiscal year, the report said.

Going the Digital India way!
Railway Budget 2019 is likely to talk about how the provision of free high-speed WiFi has been a big boon for not just railway passengers, but also railway staff on platforms and people in nearby areas. Part of PM Modi’s Digital India dream, the Indian Railways stations is increasingly being equipped with free high-speed WiFi facility by RailTel. The government has promised that by 2022, all major stations will have WiFi facility.

GK – Related Information
Union Budget 2019 Highlights
Union Budget 2019 – Interim Budget
Union Budget 2018 – 2019