Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Indian Railway (Rail) Budget 2019-20 today in the Lok Sabha. Since the year 2017 the Railway Budget and Union Budget have been merged to end the 92-year-old practice. And as the behemoth Indian Railways continues to be an important national carrier, Railway Budget will remain a key area in the main Union Budget 2019 speech.
The Railway Budget 2019 plan in all likelihood will attempt to take the carrier into a novel semi-high speed era by providing a faster and better travel experience that does not compromise in any way with the security of its passengers. There can be mooted a higher production target in respect of Train 18 style train sets. And notably here the success of the country's first engine-less self-propelled train set, the Vande Bharat Express on the Delhi-Varanasi route can boost up the plan.
Also, there is being mulled a highly ambitious plan to do away with all manned level crossings in the next few years.
It shall also focus on the redevelopment drive already in progress for railway stations. And as part of it, several of the stations have now been transformed into world-class transport hubs. The Railway Board has come up with a 100-day roadmap for reforms in the Indian Railways, and this may be highlighted in Railway Budget 2019 speech.
In the Economic Survey revealed yesterday, it has been highlighted that the carrier has made a remarkable improvement with train collision in 2018-19 remaining at zero but at the same time, the number of fire accidents have increased. So railway safety will remain a priority.
In the Interim Railway Budget 2019, the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced a capital expenditure of Rs 64,587 crore for Indian Railways.