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Building capacity is the focus of this railway budget Print E-mail
Written by Anand   
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
New Delhi: In the 2008 Budget, the Railway Minister has focused on building capacity for the future by making the required investments in infrastructure. According to Mr. Sunil Mittal, President, CII, the projects for port connectivity, freight corridors, container terminals and improved passenger amenities that were announced in the Budget will go a long way in making India’s railway network more modern and efficient. Side by side with improvement in efficiency, the Railways are also moving towards expanding capacities.

With both passenger and freight earnings growing at double digit rates, the Railways were able to earn a cash surplus of Rs 25,000 crores in 2007-08, even as its operating ratio of 76% and return on capital of 21% indicate improving efficiency. This has made it possible for the Railways to increase its investments with an Annual Plan size of Rs 37,500 crore, of which only about 20% is funded by the Central government’s Budget.

CII welcomed the partnership with the private sector, opening up yet another avenue for industry to participate in the spectacular growth of Indian Railways. The Minister announced public-private partnership schemes to be launched for attracting an investment of Rs 100,000 crore over the next five years for developing world class stations, rolling stock and other logistics.

The reduction in the freight rate for petrol and diesel by 5% and on fly ash by 14% was also welcomed by CII. This reduction will help offset to some extent the impact of the hike in fuel prices.

The forward looking Railway Budget, 2008 presented by the Railway Minister will create a win-win situation for all – the railways, the wagon manufacturers, heavy industries and the common man. With the past experience of the Railways clearly demonstrating that pragmatic policies and aggressive planning can give substantial benefits to the Railways, its consumers and the national economy, the industry expects a sustained proactive and still more ambitious approach from the Railways towards growth.

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