All eyes on Bansal for tomorrow's Rail Budget

PK Bansal

While the focus of the Budget is on providing more amenities to rail users, Bansal will initiate certain steps to earn more revenue from the alternative sources such as commercial utilisation of surplus railway land, advertising and other sundry business.

Since high-speed train is the latest buzz in Railway Ministry, there will be a few proposals for it in the Budget.

Aiming to put rescue and restoration work on fast track, the Rail Budget 2013-14 is set to announce procurement of two high-speed self-propelled accident relief trains (SPART).

With a speed of 160 km/hr, the SPART will enable rescue equipment to reach the accident site faster and help speedy rescue and restoration work.

The ministry is going ahead with the proposal for setting up Rs 1,000 crore MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) coach factory in Rajasthan to cater to the growing demand of faster local and suburban service.

Railways is likely to miss the revenue target of Rs 1.35 lakh crore for the current fiscal as the total earning for the 10 months from April, 2012, to January, 2013, has been Rs 1,01,223 crore, which means it needs to earn Rs 34,000 crore in the next two months to meet the target.

Despite the freight hike in March 2012, Railways is set to miss its freight earning target of Rs 89,339 crore this fiscal as the total goods earnings for the last 10 months from April to January is Rs 70,067.36 crore.

Even the freight loading target of 1,025 million tonnes (MT) is likely to fall short by 15 MT as Railways could transport only 927.90 MT during the last 10 months.

The total passenger earnings for the period of 10 months have been Rs 25,924 crore, whereas the target for the current fiscal is Rs 36,000 crore.

Railways, which had got Rs 24,000 crore as general budgetary support (GBS) in the last budget, sought Rs 38,000 crore from the government. It is likely to get about Rs 28,000 crore as GBS in the Rail Budget 2013-14.

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