India sets $US 20.8bn railway budget for 2017-18

railway budget, Budget 2017, Indian Railway, Railways, Railways app, Railway, IRCTC PNR, Indian Rail, Railway app, PNR, Railyatri, Train EnquiryPRESENTING India’s first combined budget on February 1, finance minister Mr Arun Jaitley announced an enhanced plan size of Rs 1.31 trillion ($US 20.8bn) for Indian Railways (IR) for the 2017-18 fiscal year and announced the setting up of a Rail Safety Fund (RRSK).

Ending the 92-year old practice of a separate railway budget, Jaitley attempted to steer the country’s rail policy on a growth-oriented trajectory by focusing on a structural reform plan for IR in his speech in the Lok Sabha.

IR will roll out an “accrual-based” accounting system by March 2019 and will take steps to increase throughput by 10% over the next three years by modernising and upgrading identified corridors, the finance minister said.

In a speech lasting 90 minutes, Jaitley identified four core areas for IR: passenger safety, capital and development works, cleanliness and finance/accounting reforms.

Hinting that the proposed independent Rail Development Regulator would be set up shortly, Jaitley said that passenger fares and freight tariffs would be decided by taking into account cost and quality of service, IR’s social obligations, and competition from other transport modes.

In the coming financial year, IR will also award contracts to re-develop 25 railway stations with private sector participation.

Capital expenditure this year is expected to reach Rs 100bn more than the revised estimates last year, with a gross budgetary support component of Rs 550bn.

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Courtesy : railjournal

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