Rail Budget: Reforms & Governance
With the focus to become the prime mover of the economy in India, the Railway Budget 2015-16 seems to have laid the foundation of a long-term reforms for the railways. The Budget has also identified major thrust areas to drive the growth – from resource mobilisation for higher Investments, 800 km of gauge conversion, passenger amenities, safety, transparency and system improvement and sustainability.
While last mile connectivity projects continue to be accorded the highest priority, the Railways intend to fast track the sanctioned works on 7,000 kms of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1,200 km in 2015-16 at an investment of Rs 8,686 crore.
Additionally, the Railway Budget has also sanctioned 77 projects covering 9,400 km of doubling/tripling/quadrupling works along with their electrification at a total cost of Rs 96,182 crore. Overall, the size of the Plan Budget has gone up by 52 percent – up from Rs 65,798 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1,00,011 crore in 2015-16.
With its focus on increasing the speed in nine railway corridors that will help reduce logistics lead time, the government has also indicated that the Railways is keen to support the industry. According to experts, announcements like Transport Development Corporation and multi-modal depots are bound to improve the delivery capability of the logistic sector and thereby have a positive impact on the overall industry.
A lot of thrust has also been laid on modernisation of Railways, including the use of Information Technology and Communication technologies to deliver a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience. The ministry also intends to use technology for making railways safer and to expand its capacity substantially by creating better infrastructure. Overall, the budget lays a lot of emphasis on leveraging technology in the sector.
It is important to note that even the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted that the role of Railways is more than that of a transporter. The five-point vision rolled Rail Budget includes adopting a medium-term perspective, building partnerships and leveraging additional resources for revamping management practices, systems, services and setting standards for governance and transparency. The Rail Budget has also charted out four-point goal aimed at delivering a sustained improvement in customer experience; making railways a safer means of travel; modernising railways infrastructure and expanding its capacity and for maki it financially self-sustainable.
To understand the nuances of the Railway Budget 2015-16, Governance Now, a publication on public policy from the SAB-TV Network Group, is organising an industry interaction with Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon'ble Minister of State, Railways on 27th March 2015 in Delhi.
The interaction Rail Budget: Reformd & Governance will have participation from industry leaders and will focus on the impact of Rail Budget 2015 on economy, governance and how it will trigger the reforms in the sector. The discussion will also focus on the issues faced by the industry and what the government needs to do in future.