Last Updated: January 17, 2023, 13:06 IST
The Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget in 2017. The Finance Minister now presents the unified budget on the same day. According to this practice, the Railway Budget 2023 will be presented along with the Union budget in Parliament on February 1.
The government revealing a plan for 400 new Vande Bharat trains is likely to be the highlight of this budget. This is in addition to the plan for 400 semi-high-speed Vande Bharat trains in three years that FM Nirmala Sitharaman already unveiled in the last budget.
With the introduction of hundreds of these new trains, the union government aims to accomplish two goals. First, it is looking to gradually replace all existing high-speed trains, including the Rajdhani and Shatabdi Expresses, so as to increase the speed on significant routes to over 180 kilometres per hour.
The other goal is to lay the foundation for the railways to manufacture trains to export to markets in East Asia, Europe, and South America by 2025-26, Moneycontrol reported.
Apart from this plan to enhance the Indian Railways’ speed and export capabilities, the budget will also increase funds allocation to strengthen the infrastructure. This budget will likely see the government hiking budgetary support to Rs 1.9 lakh crore for the financial year 2024. This will be over a 30 per cent increase from Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the current year.
The railway ministry is anticipating its total capital expenditure to rise more than 20 per cent, exceeding Rs 3 trillion in the upcoming financial year. This fiscal, the capital expenditure was Rs 2.45 lakh crore.
The Indian Railway is expected to rev up the pace of various projects, including building new lines, electrification, improving freight corridors, gauge conversions, improving signalling systems, and modernisation of rakes.
News18 had previously reported that the Union Budget 2023 is likely to propose laying 1 lakh km of new train tracks over the next 25 years to modernise the network and boost train speeds. Reports from late last year had suggested the Budget could earmark about Rs 10,000 crore to electrify 7,000 km of broad-gauge line in FY24.
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