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Will Modi Government 2.0 bring Indian Railway on Fast-track mode in Budget 2020

Modi government 2.0  Railway Budget 2020 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February in Parliament. There will be no separate Rail Budget and both the budgets will be presented in a merged form on February 1. This time Expectations are quite high from Railway Budget 2020 due to crisis on Economy. The Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railway has been on a world-class infrastructure creation drive to push national transporter into an elite league in the world. Rail Budget 2020 is likely to play a vital role in Indian Railways infrastructure also to help drive to a fast-track mode.

 Since the year 2017, Railway Budget has been merged with the Union Budget. The NDA government did away with the 92-year-old colonial-era practice and made the rail budget a part of the general budget.  In 2018, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the largest-ever allocation of Rs 1.48 lakh crore capital expenditure for the Indian Railways in 2018-19.

 

Stakes are high, as Railways which is one of India’s major sectors is in a bad shape, as it is losing money on keeping its existing operations going. To put the railway back on its feet, an informed debate is required, however, due to the merger of rail budget with Union budget, the time available to focus on the railway has reduced.

 

But this year there is an expectation in the Rail Budget to increase emphasis on public-private partnerships. It may also boost the infrastructure building program of the Indian Railways. Private players may be roped in for the upgradation and modernisation of the railways including setting up of railway stations. It may also include the operation of technologically advanced trains for better convenience of passengers.

The chances of a hike in passenger fares are low this time, experts have said, “as they have recently been raised while keeping the hikes delinked from the budget and freight rates may also not increase at the time of an economic slowdown”. As per reports, “the freight revenue is anyway running behind the target by Rs 17,600 crore till November”.

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