New Delhi: Despite the larger belief being that the main focus of the Union Budget 2018-19 was on the agricultural economy, the infrastructure sector remained the single largest target area for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who termed it the “growth driver of economy” while announcing an “all-time high allocation to rail and road sectors”. Here are the highlights of the Union Budget 2018 in view of railway projects in India:-
- ₹1.48 lakh crore has been allocated to as railway capital expenditure for Financial Year 2018-19. Most of this money will be spent on capacity expansion, since it is a priority for the national transporter.
- About 18,000 km of rail lines will be doubled and gauge conversion is underway to eliminate capacity constraints.
- 36,000 km of rail track renewal has been targeted in the coming year while 4,267 unmanned railway crossings on broad gauge routes are to be eliminated in the next two years.
- A new institute will be set up at Vadodara to train manpower for high-speed rail networks.
- Escalators are to come up at all railway stations with footfalls exceeding 25,000, while all trains are to be progressively provided with WiFi, CCTV and other state-of-the-art amenities.
- 600 railway stations are to be redeveloped.
While noting that almost the entire network would be shifted to broad gauge, he said electrification work was also being expanded and 4,000 km are targeted for commissioning.
The finance minister said work on the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors was also progressing and Railways would be procuring 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives during 2018-19.