Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget 2023-24 on Wednesday, announced that the railway sector will get an outlay of ₹2.4 lakh crore in order to expand infrastructure in the coming years. This is the highest-ever outlay received by the Railways in the Union Budget.

In last year's budget, Sitharaman had announced an outlay of ₹1.4 lakh crore for the railways. In FY22, railway expenses increased by 45% as compared to the previous year whereas gross revenue increased by 43%. The central government is expecting revenue from railways to increase by ₹32,700 crore in FY23 over revised estimates of FY22. 

Cheering at the development, a CRISIL spokesperson said, "Investment of 75,000 crore focusing on freight will help Indian Railways increase its modal share. This is in line with the National Rail Plan aims to raise the modal share to 50% from 25% now."

The Economic Survey 2022-23, which was released on Tuesday, also said that the development of road and railways witnessed an “unprecedented expansion” in the last eight years. As per the survey, the capital expenditure on Railways witnessed a growth of 29% at ₹2.5 lakh crore as against the previous year.

"This has helped the country move from unimodal to multimodal transportation, providing a window of opportunity to the private sector to invest and reinvest in these assets, which has already been facilitated by the policy of asset monetization. Extending infrastructural facilities is only part of the story; modernisation is the other important principle that has been attempted with verve and achieved with commendable speed," the survey said.

"The fast pace of infrastructure augmentation by Indian Railways has been a result of substantial increase in allocation of funds and various steps being taken by the government. This includes delegation of powers at the field level which has helped in commissioning of doubling projects, close monitoring of the progress of projects at various levels, regular follow-up with State Governments and relevant authorities for expeditious land acquisition, forestry and wildlife clearances and resolving other issues pertaining to the projects," it added.

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