Rlys prepares for major technology boost
New Delhi: Soon after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget, which included announcements for national transporters too, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said that the national transporter would focus on technology this year to ensure safety on its network.
The Finance Minister allocated Rs 2,025 crore for an overhaul of the signalling and telecommunication system of the Indian Railways in 2018-2019 and Rs 11,450 crore has been earmarked for track renewal. The total expenditure planned for safety, including Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), is Rs 68,725 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 73,065 crore in 2018-19.
The RRSK will have Rs 5,000 crore from capital (budgetary support), Rs 10,000 crore from the Railway Safety Fund and Rs 5,000 crore from the Railways revenue.
"Strengthening the railway network and enhancing Railways' carrying capacity has been a major focus of the government. Railways' Capex for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs 1,48,528 crore. A large part of the Capex is devoted to capacity creation. 18,000 km of doubling, 3rd and 4th line works and 5,000 km of gauge conversion would eliminate capacity constraints and transform the almost entire network into Broad Gauge," Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget on Thursday.
"Work on Eastern and Western dedicated freight corridors is in full swing. An adequate number of rolling stock – 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being procured during 2018-19," the Finance Minister said while highlighting the achievements of railways.
Jaitley further said that redevelopment of 600 major railway stations is being taken up by Indian Railway Station Development and all stations with more than 25,000 footfalls will have escalators. "Modern train-sets with state-of-the-art amenities and features are being designed at Integrated Coach Factory, Perambur and first such train-set will be commissioned during 2018-19," Jaitley said.
Speaking at a post-budget press briefing, Goyal said, "The focus will be on technology, in everything. I have to give people security. If I try and provide personnel on every train and in every coach, it will be very expensive. My target is to have CCTV cameras and Wi-Fi in all trains and all coaches."
"In my department, money is never a concern," he said when asked about the budget for introducing high-end technology in the Railways. Goyal said that he had a plan to introduce an effective and modern ETCS II system - a radio-based cab signalling equipment - on the railway network which would not only help address safety concerns but also aid in capacity management.