New Delhi, Feb 1: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the highest-ever expenditure of Rs 2.4 lakh crore for Railways in the Union Budget 2023-24 on Wednesday.
“This is about nine times the outlay made in 2013-14,” she underlined, comparing it with the year when the Congress-led UPA governed the country, just before the BJP led by Narendra Modi won power.
She announced Rs 75,000 crore for 100 ‘critical transport infrastructure projects’, which is likely to help the railways’ freight business in particular. These projects have been planned for the coal, fertiliser and foodgrain sectors.
The railway is also planning to refurbish over 1,000 coaches of premier trains such as the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Humsafar and Tejas.
A big allocation is likely for replacing old tracks so that trains can move faster, and more trains such as the Vande Bharat Express can be launched.
As per the budget, the government proposes to manufacture 35 hydrogen fuel-based trains too. This is the highest-ever allocation to the national transporter and continues on the trend followed last year with a gross budgetary support of Rs 1.37 lakh crore in fiscal 2022-23.