No new train services, Suresh Prabhu keeps Rail Budget firmly on track

By Avishek G Dastidar  indianexpress.com

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday presented a sober Rail Budget, not announcing new trains or factories, and instead laying the track for increasing carrying capacity by substantially stepping up investment in infrastructure.

He kept passenger fares intact given the fall in diesel prices, which saved him Rs 5,000 crore this year, but hiked freight rates for some commodities, including coal, by 6.3 per cent and cement by 2.7 per cent.

To transform the Railways and make it future-ready, Prabhu proposes to invest Rs 1 lakh crore in 2015-16, and over the coming five years Rs 8.5 lakh crore.

Of the Rs 1 lakh crore investment planned in 2015-16, the Finance Ministry has contributed Rs 40,000 crore as gross budgetary support, market borrowings through IRFC bring Rs 17,665 crore, Prabhu’s new financing mechanism Extra Budgetary Resources (institutional finance) another Rs 17,136 crore, Rs 17,793 crore through internal resources, Rs 5,781 crore through PPPs and Rs 1,645 crore from diesel cess. More info

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