The union ministry of railways has spent an amount of ₹60,434 crore in the April-October period of the current financial year, up 64% over ₹36,681 crore spent during the same period in the previous financial year, according to data from the government. This is a record spending by the railway ministry on infrastructure front.

In terms of percentage of capex utilisation to budgetary allocation too, railway ministry logged a 56% achievement in April-October FY22, against 52% in the same period during the previous financial year.

The amount spent in during period, meanwhile, is up 60% from infrastructure expenditure worth ₹37,611.74 crore incurred by the ministry during the pre-pandemic period of April-October FY20. In terms of percentage of the budgeted expenditure though, the achievement in FY20 was higher at 57%. Looked at from the perspective of percentage of budgetary utilisation, FY19 was even better when the railways utilised 58% of the budgetary allocation during April-October.

Putting the data into perspective, a railway ministry source told Fortune India, “When seen as percentage of total expenditure, the performance in the previous years may look better. But it has to be seen the context of budget size too, which has increased considerably in the last couple of years. The capex allocation in the budget has gone up by more than 50% in the current financial year compared with about ₹70,000 crore in the previous financial year.”

Going forward, the areas on which the allocated amount is being utilised is construction of new lines, doubling of the existing lines, expenditure on traffic facilities and construction of road over bridges and under bridges for seamless operations. Railway annual plan for the current financial year envisages investment of ₹40,932 crore in new lines, up 52% from ₹26,971 crore in FY21, ₹26,116 crore in doubling, ₹5,263 crore in traffic facilities, and investment of over ₹7,000 crore in the contruction of road over bridges and under bridges.

In line with the government’s plan to stoke growth in the economy, the finance ministry has enhanced the infrastructure spending in the last two years significantly. The allocation towards the railway ministry’s capital expenditure in the current financial year is almost double from ₹55,000 crore allocated under the head in budget 2017-18, according to the budget documents.

The railway ministry source pointed out that the ministry too is implementing the projects at a far greater pace now. It may be noted that against the budgetary allocation of ₹55,000 crore towards infrastructure expenditure in 2017-18, the ministry had utilised only ₹22,901 crore – 42% of the allocated amount – in April-October period of 2017-18.

On the back of swift implementation of the projects, the ministry is most likely to demand an upwards revision for the current fiscal in the upcoming budget, sources have indicated. The ministry of finance may also continue with the infrastructure push and allocate better performing ministries higher amount in the next financial year.

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