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News Entry# 435011
Jan 25 (09:40) Rail, roads ministries seek Budget boost (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
Rail Budget
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News Entry# 435011  Blog Entry# 4855820   
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NEW DELHI: The railway ministry has proposed to step up its capital expenditure by 13% next year as it seeks to ramp up and modernise its operations with the roads and highways ministry too seeking a 10% increase in its allocation. Railways has proposed that its capex budget be enhanced from this year’s Rs 1.6 lakh crore to over Rs 1.8 lakh crore, higher than the business-as-usual growth of around 10%.


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includes nearly Rs 80,000 crore as gross budgetary support from the last budget’s allocation of Rs 70,000 crore, sources told TOI. The government’s largest departmental enterprise has argued that over the last few years, there has been a significant focus on augmenting capacity and modernising creaky infrastructure, resulting in the allocation often becoming a stumbling block. This is despite attempts to get greater private participation. For instance this year, it is expected to spend around Rs 1.55 lakh crore of the capex budget despite several projects coming to a standstill during the lockdown period.
Yet, sources said, during the lockdown considrable amount of work could be accomplished as passenger trains were stopped, allowing focused attention on revamping tracks and other works. In several cases special permission was taken from local authorities to hire manpower with some workers reallocated to these “focus projects”. Similarly, the road transport and highways ministry has asked the finance ministry to increase the fund allocation by around 10% given that major projects have been lined up including expressways.
Last year, the government had allocated nearly Rs 92,000 crore to the ministry, with a bulk of the funding coming through a cess on petrol and diesel. In fact, during lockdown, the government had increased the levy to ensure that infrastructure projects do not suffer for want of funds. Higher capital spending by key infrastructure ministries and public sector companies has been a major focus for the finance ministry given that it also generates demand for steel, cement and other inputs apart from creating jobs. Roads and railways are the two biggest elements of the government’s Rs 180 lakh crore infrastructure pipeline with the former accounting for over a third of the over 7,400 projects.
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