NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): In a move signaling renewed focus on infrastructure development, the Indian government unveiled its Interim Rail Budget 2024 today, allocating a significant ₹2.55 lakh crore – a 5.8% increase over last year. This budget outlines ambitious plans to modernize the nation’s vast railway network, enhance connectivity, and prioritize passenger experience.
Boosting the Engine of Growth: The budget lays the foundation for three new economic corridors dedicated to energy, minerals and cement, port connectivity, and high-traffic density. These PM Gati Shakti corridors aim to decongest existing lines, improve logistics efficiency, and ultimately accelerate GDP growth.
Upgrading on Track: Recognizing the need for improved passenger comfort and safety, the budget announces the conversion of 40,000 existing rail bogies to the advanced Vande Bharat standards. This ambitious project promises enhanced features, smoother rides, and world-class amenities, marking a significant leap forward in passenger travel.
Northeast on the Fast Track: Reflecting the government’s commitment to regional development, the budget allocates a substantial ₹10,269 crore for the Northeast, a massive increase from previous years. This investment signifies a drive to expand the rail network in this crucial region, fostering better connectivity and economic opportunities.
Sustainable Journey: The budget underscores the government’s continued focus on green initiatives. Increased adoption of solar power and energy-efficient technologies within the railways aims to minimize environmental impact and ensure a sustainable future for the sector.
Looking Ahead: While the Rail Budget paints a promising picture, experts caution that successful implementation is key. Continued monitoring, addressing potential challenges, and exploring further avenues like Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and data-driven operations will be crucial to achieving the budget’s ambitious goals.
Reactions from the industry leaders started to pour in as soon as the allocations for various sectors were announced today in the parliament.
Some of the reactions are:
“The Interim Budget presented today highlights the government’s intent to continue its focus on inclusive and sustainable development. The government stands committed with a special emphasis on empowering the poor, women, youth, and farmers and is focused on driving policies that resonate with their aspirations. As a responsible brand focused on implementing sustainability, we are pleased to see the government’s focus on promoting electric vehicles (EVs) which is a visionary step towards environmental sustainability as well as overall economic growth. Additionally, the commitment towards expanding the e-vehicle ecosystem brings an exciting prospect for the youth, which will create employment opportunities that align with the demands of the future. The introduction of biomanufacturing and bio-foundry schemes is also a welcome move that will be a great alternative to bio-degradable production”.
– Mr. Rohit Saboo, President & CEO, National Engineering Industries Ltd.
“We welcome the government’s focus on infrastructure creation which is expected to be an economic force multiplier and also lead to a positive cascading effect on ancillary industries and lend to job creations. The multifarious initiatives to boost agricultural productivity is also a part of the piece. This infrastructure push, which entails development of triple railways corridors as well as well as the construction of airports is expected to catalyse investments and spur demand in sectors such as steel, cement, iron ore and transportation. Maccaferri is uniquely poised to partner with the government in this transformative journey which is ultimately expected to propel India into the growth orbit of the top three economies of the world.”
-Mr. Vikramjiet Roy, Managing Director, Maccaferri India
“The announcement in the Union Budget 2024 regarding the upgrade of 40,000 regular rail bogies to Vande Bharat standards marks a significant milestone in India’s railway modernization journey. This initiative reflects a dedicated effort to elevate passenger safety, comfort, and operational efficiency to global standards. As the nation progresses towards modernizing its railway infrastructure, this move underscores a commitment to excellence and sets a benchmark for future development. It is a testament to the ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and reliability of our railway services, ultimately benefiting millions of passengers across the country”.
– Mr. Vivek Lohia, Managing Director, Jupiter Wagons Limited
“ The Union Budget promises to drive development and innovation, taking India’s infrastructure to the next level and by bringing together its transportation ecosystem for rail, road, aerospace and more to benefit individuals and businesses alike. The continued focus on infrastructure with an increased outlay of INR 11.11 lakh crores in FY25 will play a key role in boosting India’s economic growth.
As the frontrunners in sustainable mobility and drivers of India’s rail revolution, the announcement of metro and NaMo Bharat expansion, three major railway corridor program and transformation in existing rail ecosystem will create opportunities for us to introduce world class rolling stock, rail equipment & infrastructure, signalling and services in India. It will not only strengthen the overall efficiency of transportation network but also improve the reliability and safety of passenger trains.”
– Olivier Loison, Managing Director- Alstom India
“Vishwa Samudra Group commends the Interim Budget’s focus on boosting capital expenditure by 11% to over ₹11 lakh crore that will lead to asset creation in the economy. We are keen to collaborate with the government on building new ports and infrastructure corridors. With our substantial experience in infrastructure development, we are well-positioned to support this vital push to strengthen India’s economic expansion”.
– Mr. Anil Yendluri, Managing Director- Vishwa Samudra Group
“The 11.11 lakh crore strong infrastructure push, supported by the three railway corridors, as well as the continued focus on housing for the middle class, underscores the government’s unrelenting attention towards bolstering domestic infrastructure. This push is expected to spawn its own ecosystem of ancillary players, equipment OEMs, and heavy machinery players. GMMCO is uniquely poised to leverage the emerging opportunities and play a significant role in contributing to India’s infrastructure push, in sync with PM Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.”
– Chandrashekar V, MD& CEO of GMMCO (a part of the USD 2.9 billion CK Birla Group).
“The increase in capital outlay has increased by 11.1%. When seen in the context of the constraints presented by the debt situation, this is a very welcome step especially on the back of significant increases in the previous years. This demonstrates the commitment of the Government of India to address the infrastructural bottlenecks. The announcement on Railways is on expected lines especially with the commitment to increase the modal share of Railways to 40-45%. There has been a thrust to improve logistics efficiency and therefore dedicated corridors for port connectivity, energy, cement, minerals and high traffic density is a critical step in that direction The renewed focus on developing tourism infrastructure at iconic destinations will provide a further boost to tourism. Considering the immense potential in this sector, this will complement the existing ongoing initiatives that are already ongoing. The announcements on other infrastructure sectors such as housing for middle class, focus on food processing and modernization of agriculture infrastructure will help bring in efficiencies in the entire agriculture value chain and reduce losses.”
– Sudeep Kumar Sinha, Partner, Deloitte India
“Aligned with the government’s strategy to ‘Reform, Perform, Transform’, to stimulate strategic growth. In parallel, Jakson aligns seamlessly with the government’s visionary initiatives, including a substantial 11.11 lakh crore infrastructure investment and the introduction of ‘Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana.’ This program aims to provide 1 crore households with 300 units of free electricity through rooftop solarization, symbolizing our shared commitment to economic growth and net zero journey. These dynamic measures not only enhance energy security and promote clean energy accessibility but also drive a tech revolution, supported by a INR 1 lakh crore corpus for R&D. Jakson is committed to this journey towards a sustainable, and inclusive future, championing synergies between innovation and economic empowerment.”
– Mr. Sameer Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director of Jakson Group.
“Heartening to see the focus and impetus by the central government towards infrastructure development and the commitment to transform the country to a ‘Viksit Bharat’ on the backbone of infrastructure development. This would provide the much-needed guidance to municipal and state level planners to take the country and infrastructure development forward.”
– Jatin Aneja, National Practice Head Infrastructure, Energy and Project Finance, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
“The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) was devised in line with Government’s commitment to provide ‘Housing for All’. The scheme aimed at providing a pucca house with basic amenities to all houseless people living in kutcha and dilapidated houses. FM in her budget speech mentioned that despite the challenges, the implementation of the scheme continued, and they are close to achieving the target of 3 crore houses and 2 crore more houses will be taken up in the next five years. This will significantly improve the quality of life and socio-economic conditions of the rural poor – effectively, covering around 20Cr – 25Cr of our population. Implementation of housing at such scale will provide boost to the rural economy by generating increased economic activity, wages, and jobs. Increased spending in this area will also stimulate the demand for construction materials like cement, iron, bricks etc., thereby benefiting related industries. The labor-intensive approach required for such large-scale construction will also create huge employment opportunities for rural construction workers, carpenters, etc. This will also raise incomes and spending capacity in rural areas. On an overall basis, this will give good boost to the economy and will plug the overall housing shortage faced by the nation”.
– Vishal Hakani, Partner, Deloitte India, on Announcements made in Budget 2024-25 for the Real Estate.
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