The railways got a bare two-minute mention in the current budget, with the finance minister choosing to focus only on the highlights of the year. This is in stark contrast to earlier years when hours would be spent listing every train and facility on the budget.
In total, the Centre has allocated Rs 1,48,000 crore for the Railways. Here are some of the highlights –
- With a focus on safety, the minister announced that all 11,000 trains and 8,500 stations will have CCTV surveillance. Each coach of a train will have eight CCTV cameras.
- On the infrastructure front, the redevelopment of 600 major railway stations will be taken up. Some 18,000 kilometres of ‘double line’ tracks will be laid. This is to ease the massive congestion that plagues the Indian Railways. Also, 4000 kilometres of lines will be electrified. 4267 unmanned railway crossings will also be eliminated this year.
- The two major urban projects are going to Mumbai and Bengaluru. Mumbai’s choked local train network will get an extra 90 kilometres of track. The city will also get close to Rs 40,000 crore will be allocated for upgrades and improvements. A 160-kilometre suburban railway network is being planned for Bengaluru, at the cost of Rs 17,000 crore.
- The government to set up specialised railway university in Vadodara, to serve the needs of projects like the upcoming Bullet Train.
- Keeping in mind the rise in railway accidents, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reiterated that “safety first” is the aim of the government under the Rashtriya Railways Sanrakshana Yojana.