The Centre has allocated 28% higher gross budgetary support (GBS) to the Ministry of Railways in the budget. The budgetary support for the railway ministry for 2022-23 has been increased to a record ₹1,37,300 crore, up ₹30,000 crore or 28% compared with ₹1,07,300 crore allocated for the current financial year.

Budget documents also reveal that the GBS amount for the current financial year for the ministry has been revised upwards. Railway GBS for FY22 has been enhanced to ₹1,17,300 crore, which slightly over 9% from the budget estimate for the current year.

“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for record allocation for railways in the budget. This is unprecedented. I also thank finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for investment support as well as conceptual roadmap for the railways. Budget has laid stress on progressive ideas for railways, information technology and telecom,” says railway minister Ashwini Vaishnav who is also the minister for telecom and IT.

“Allocation of ₹1,37,000 gross budgetary support has been provided in the budget for railways. This will facilitate completion of long pending critical railway projects which will lead to capacity augmentation,” Vaishnav adds.

It may be noted that the railway ministry is expected to generate ₹1,01,500 crore from the extra budgetary resources, according to the budget fine print. This is almost flat compared with ₹1,00,258 budgeted for the current financial year. However, the figure of extra budgetary sources for the current financial year has been lowered to ₹95,200 crore in the revised estimates. Railway ministry raises extra budgetary resources in the form of bonds, institutional finance and partnerships. The downward revision is due to some lag in the partnerships witnessed in the current year.

Total railway revenue has been pegged at ₹2,39,500 crore, which is up 10% from ₹2,17,010 budgeted for the current financial year. It may, however, be noted that the revenue projection for the current financial year has been lowered to ₹2,01,650 crore on account of lower than expected passenger revenue.

For the current financial year, the passenger revenue has been lowered to ₹44,375 crore, from ₹61,000 crore in the budget estimates. For FY23, passenger revenue has been pegged at ₹58,500 crore. Total goods revenue has been projected at ₹1,65,000 crore for FY23 even as the railways is expected to better the current year’s goods revenue, which have been revised upwards to ₹1,45,275 crore from budget estimate of ₹1,37,810 crore.

Buoyed by the higher allocation, the railway ministry plans to spend mega sum on infra projects like new lines, gauge conversion and doubling. Allocation towards new lines for example has been enhanced to ₹26,323 crore for 2022-23 from ₹17,014.6 crore allocated for the current financial year. Allocation towards doubling too has gone up to ₹37,150.31 crore from ₹26,092 crore.

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