Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a capital outlay of Rs 2.4 lakh crore for the Railways in the Union Budget for 2023-24.
Presenting her fifth Budget, the finance minister said it is the highest-ever allocation since 2013-14, and is nine times the amount that was announced then.
She said 100 critical transport infrastructure projects for last- and first-mile connectivity for coal, fertiliser and food grain sectors have been identified and will be taken up on a priority basis with investment of Rs 75,000 crore, including Rs 15,000 crore from private sources, she said.
With increased passenger expectations, the Railways is planning to refurbish more than 1,000 coaches of premier trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Humsafar and Tejas. The interiors of these coaches will be improved with a modern look and for enhanced passenger comfort.
A significant allocation is likely to be made to replace old tracks as the Railways plan to speed up trains and launch Vande Bharat Express in more destinations. Aimed at attracting tourists, the Railways is proposing to manufacture 100 more Vistadome coaches.
In the budget, the government proposed to manufacture 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains, 4,500 newly designed automobile carrier coaches with side entry, 5,000 LHB coaches and 58,000 wagons.
The Railways was allocated Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the Union Budget for 2022-23, of which Rs 1.37 lakh crore was earmarked for capital expenditure and Rs 3,267 lakh crore for revenue expenditure.
The finance minister further said the enhanced capex of Rs 10 trillion for infrastructure development is 3.3 per cent of the GDP.
Giving an impetus for the transport infrastructure projects, the finance minister said 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes, and advanced landing zones will be revitalised.