Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may allocate around Rs 1.70 lakh crore to reinvigorate the Indian Railways which is staring at 72 per cent year-on-year slump in earnings from passenger fares in FY21 due to the pandemic, according to a report by Brickwork Ratings.
The rating agency, in its report titled 'BWR Pre-Budget Expectations FY22' added that the gross budgetary support for Railways is expected to be around Rs 75,000 crore.
Further, the rating agency has suggested that the allocation of safety fund for the railway network should be increased by 50 per cent from the current Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore per year.
Besides, this year's budget will also focus on Indian Railways' dream to expand the bullet train network and manufacture more modern, high-speed potential trains. Railway Budget 2021 is also expected to bring policy support for the operations of private trains, better rail connectivity to tourist and pilgrimage spots, expansion of railway infrastructure. A greater allocation is also expected towards the green energy initiative by Indian Railways, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Railway Ministry has also demanded gross budgetary support (GBS) of about Rs 75,000 crore from the Ministry of Finance in the upcoming budget. The GBS sought by the railway ministry is about 7 per cent higher than GBS of Rs 70,250 crore allocated for the financial year 2020-21 in last year's budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It may be noted that the GBS was at Rs 69,967 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 55,088 crore in 2018-19.
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