A forward-looking budget, the initiatives on prioritizing 347 projects with assured funding is a positive move. Besides, the lower operating ratio, at 88.8% would help in ensuring operational efficiencies and provide funds for expansion and modernization.
According to CII, it is heartening to note that much of the modernization projects would be undertaken under the PPP mode. Other initiatives such as the announcement of the tariff regulatory authority and creation of debt service fund are commendable. Introducing fuel adjustment component for linking tariffs with movement of fuel prices is a balancing act required to address the financial challenges faced by railways.
Commenting on the Rail Budget, Mr Naresh Aggarwal, Chairman, CII Railway Equipment Division mentioned that while the rail Budget has covered a wide array of areas ranging from safety, cleanliness, food, heritage among others, the availability of financial resources and time bound implementation is the key.
Similarly, Mr Tilakraj Seth, Vice Chairman, CII Railway Equipment Division CII opined that the proposals outlined in the rail budget would go a long way to augment revenues and bring about financial discipline and stability for Indian Railways.
The planned investment of Rs 63,363 crore for 2013-14, including Rs 6000 crore from PPP route is step in the right direction. Having said so, he however mentioned that it is equally important to have a roadmap with specific structures in place.
Mr Rajeev Jyoti, Past Chairman, CII Railway Equipment Division said that the rail Budget is practical and added that the Minister is targeting higher freight revenues by targeting higher volume of freight traffic even while projecting a reduction of losses in passenger fares. He further said that award of construction contract for the dedicated freight corridor as also enhancing last mile connectivity would have spin off effects on the economy by enhancing construction activity, related infrastructure development, creation of multi-modal transport, among others.
CII hopes that Indian Railways put in place specific measures to utilize the capacity built by industry. Besides, speedy project implementation through a clearly defined and structured process is the need of the hour. Similarly, there is a need for better vendor management and procurement process using technology.