Indian Railways Poised for Elaborative Changes

Union Budget 2023 Prioritizes Green Growth and Infrastructure Investment

Union Budget for FY 2023-24
Union Budget for FY 2023-24

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister, delivered the Union Budget on February 1, 2023. The budget prioritises infrastructure, investment, green growth, and the financial industry. The green growth agenda focuses on supporting sustainable enterprises and assisting India in reducing carbon emissions.

The Union Budget 2023 focuses on maintaining momentum towards a sustainable India. The government has reinforced its commitment to decarbonization and the creation of green jobs by designating green growth as one of the seven main goals. The allocation of Rs. 35,000 Cr. for priority capital investment in energy transformation will aid in the acceleration of our Net Zero journey. The Viability Gap Financing for battery storage projects, major investment in renewable energy system expansion, and the green credit scheme to reward sustainable behaviour are all extremely welcome and timely initiatives that will advance clean energy adoption. The PM PRANAM initiative will increase the use of green ammonia in the manufacture of environmentally friendly fertilisers. The scrapping policy and customs duty exemption on Li-ion batteries will also assist accelerate the adoption of EVs and clean up the mobility sector.

 The finance ministry has delivered major support to the Ministry of Railways, which is aiming to leapfrog to a freight volume of 3 billion tonnes over the next decade, with a budgetary support of Rs 2.4 trillion. The entire 11th five-year plan (2007-12) may promise less than this spending.

 There must be some cause for such enthusiastic support. One, despite the Covid-19 epidemic, the government is delighted with the Railways‘ progress towards 1.5 billion tonnes of freight loading by 2023. Following that, 2023 will be a promising year. The economic, trade, and industry ministries are preparing to announce some high-profile projects that are nearing completion at breakneck speed.

 Railway showcase projects also have the opportunity to increase the frenetic pace of last-mile connection, and funding must not be a limitation in any way. The new Vande Bharat train sets were one of the most obvious symbols of railway modernization in 2022. They have received a great deal of national notice.

 Even during the second wave of Covid-19 and thereafter, the freight company generated unexpectedly large profits. The railways, which boost nearly all industries and trade by delivering raw materials and finished goods, are moving far more BTKMs (billion tonne kilometres) during and after the pandemic. The Railroads rely on BTKMs to make ends meet.

 Following Covid, freight has escaped the decade-long haphazard trap of clocking 691 billion in 2011-12 and 707 billion in early 2020. Since 2021-22, these gains have only been possible due to the Centre’s substantial fiscal support for infrastructure expansion and modernisation through the finance ministry and the Railways’ intensive use of its assets — track and rolling stock — by stretching their capacities to absorb pent-up demand.

 The value of freight BTKMs increased from 707 billion in 2019-20 to 807 billion in 2021-22. Although if pent-up demand is likely to level off in the fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23), the Railways may be planning for another significant increase in BTKM. Despite an anticipated decrease in tonnes carried in FY23, higher leads (average distances travelled by freight) are driving increasing BTKMs. As a dependable performance indicator, BTKM is a combination of kilometres travelled by tonnes of freight. The railways’ freight prices are also among the lowest in the world.

Railways in India are poised for elaborative changes and meet future challenges and requirements. The government is making efforts in all sectors of the national transporter to meet the ambitious goal.  


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