Sparing passengers of any further fare hike, Railway Budget for 2014-15 proposes to attract private domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) in infrastructure projects and pursuing private-public partnership to boost the finances of the cash-strapped Railways.
Having hiked fares to the tune of 14.2 per cent recently, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda who presented the new government's first budget in Lok Sabha said he plans to leverage railway PSU resources by bringing in their investible funds in infrastructure projects.
He announced plans to introduce a bullet train in Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and setting up of a Diamond Quadrilateral network of high speed rail connecting major metros and growth centres. A sum of Rs 100 crore has been provided for initiating the project.
Increasing the speed of trains to 160 to 200 kms per hour on nine select sectors was another highlight of the Budget, which proposes to allow all experimental stoppages to lapse after September this year.
The Budget disclosed that traffic growth declined and expenditures went up in 2013-14 as compared to the revised estimates of previous financial year.
Gross traffic receipts stood at Rs 1,39,558 crore, short of revised estimates by Rs 942 crore over the previous year.
The ordinary working expenses and pension outgo were also higher.
The Budget estimates for 2014-15 assumes a freight loading 1101 metric tonnes, 51 metric tonnes more than the previous year, growth in passenger traffic at 2 per cent and freight earnings at Rs 1,05,770 crore.
Passenger earnings will be Rs 44,645 crore after a revenue sacrifice of Rs 610 crore on account of monthly season ticket fares.
Total receipts for the current year have been pegged at Rs 1,64,374 crore and expenditure at Rs 1,49,176 crore.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has sought cabinet approval to allow greater access for foreign investors to Indian Railways, the world's fourth largest railway network.
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Gowda announced the move while presenting his maiden Rail Budget in Parliament on Tuesday.