India’s Rail Budget: Minister Announces 7 Missions

NEW DELHI (TIP): Presenting his second Budget in Lok Sabha, February 25, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promised rationalizing of the tariff structure by undertaking a review to evolve competitive rates vis-a-vis other modes of transport and to expand the freight basket as a means of additional revenue mobilization.

Announcing seven missions in his Budget speech, the Railway Minister said transformation of Railways would require its reorientation with an entirely different level of effectiveness.

The seven missions are ’25 Ton’, ‘Zero Accident’, PACE (Procurement and Consumption Efficiency), ‘Raftaar’, ‘Hundred’, ‘beyond book-keeping’ and ‘capacity utilization’.

Railways is scouting for new ways to generate funding including through offshore rupee bonds as part of its ambitious ₹1.21 lakh crore capital expenditure plan for 2016-17.

Indian Railways will borrow ₹20,000 crores from markets through its two companies IRFC and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd for capital expenditure during 2016-17, a whopping 69 per cent rise over the current fiscal year’s revised estimate.

Market borrowing, as per the revised estimate for current fiscal, has been pegged at about ₹11,848 crore, lower than ₹17,655 crore estimated earlier.

Besides, the public sector behemoth is also looking at forming joint ventures with states, signing new PPP agreements and engaging multilateral and bilateral agencies to mop up investments.

Markets reacted negatively to the Rail Budget. Rail stocks witnessed heavy selling pressure, falling by up to 9.3 per cent, as the Railway Budget for 2016-17 failed to lift investor sentiment.

Shares of Kalindee Rail Nirman Engineers tanked 9.26 per cent, Texmaco Rail & Engineering dipped 8.78 per cent and Titagarh Wagons slumped 8.40 per cent on BSE.

Similar selling pressure was seen in Hind Rectifiers which tumbled 7.69 per cent, Stone India (5.74 per cent) and Kernex Microsystems (4.89 per cent).

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