Substantial rise in fund allocation among reasons behind Railways' fast infra augmentation: Eco Survey

NewsDrum Desk
31 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Applauding the Railways' efforts for recovering in both the passenger and freight segments post the Covid pandemic, the Economic Survey for 2022-23 has credited the government for substantial increase in funds that has allowed the national transporter to augment infrastructure at a fast pace.

The survey that details the state of the economy was tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday, a day before she presents the Union Budget 2023-24.

The survey said enhanced mobility across the country and demand for faster and competitive trains will assist the growth in passenger traffic in the coming years.

Passenger traffic originating in the Indian Railway was Rs 809 crore during pre-Covid period (2019-20), but dipped to 125 crore in 2020-21, it said.

It has since recovered to Rs 351.9 crore in 2021-22. During the current financial year, passenger traffic has seen further strong growth with the number of originating passengers already hitting 418.4 crore (up to November 2022), the survey said.

In the case of revenue-earning, freight traffic was sustained by Indian Railways despite the Covid shock.

"Between FY20-21 and FY21-22, there was a sharp increase in the freight traffic, reflecting the strong revival in the economic activity in the domestic economy.

"During FY22-23 (up to November 2022), Indian Railways carried 976.8 million tonnes of revenue-earning freight traffic (excluding KRCL11), as against 901.7 million tonnes during the corresponding period in FY21-22 (excluding KRCL), which translated into an increase of 8.3 per cent," it said.

It further said that the capital expenditure (Capex) on infrastructure in the Railways has received tremendous boost since 2014.

It has seen a continuous increase in the last four years with Capex (B.E.) of Rs 2.5 lakh crore in FY23, up by around 29 per cent compared to the previous year, it said. During the current financial year (till 12 December 2022), the Indian Railways has already completed 2022 Track Kilometres (TKM) which includes 109 TKM of New Line, 102 TKM of gauge conversion and 1,811 TKM of multi-tracking projects, it said.

To understand the pace of progress, it may be noted that during last financial year, this figure was reached only during the first week of March, it said.

The survey found that from FY 2014-22 across the Indian Railways, 20,628 km sections (3,970 km new line, 5,507 km gauge conversion and 11,151 km doubling) have been commissioned at an average of 2,579 km/year, which is 70 per cent more than the average commissioning during 2009-14 (1,520 km/year), it said.

Further, during the last eight years (2014-22), 30,446 Route Kilometres (RKM) have been electrified compared to an electrification of 4,698 RKM during the previous eight-year period, a more than six-fold increase, the survey noted.

"The fast pace of infrastructure augmentation by the 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," the survey added. PTI ASG ASG TDS TDS

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