ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Emphasis on Consolidation in Railway Budget (2014-15)

The Railway Budget for 2014-15 prudently lays emphasis on consolidation rather than succumbing to the temptation to announce new projects. The railways enjoy a competitive advantage in long distance movement which is what they should focus on. At the same time the proposal to start preliminary work on select high-speed rail corridors for passenger traffi c is not advisable.

There was widespread expectation that the railway budget would be nothing more than an accounting and reporting exercise with no real scope to provide a vision and a plan, given that there was little time for a detailed exercise, and the fact that tariffs had recently been increased (and some scaled down after protests). A quick overview of the budget that was presented to Parliament in early July reveals some realism by emphasising the need for consolidation, given the precarious situation facing the railways especially in terms of inadequacy of finances, which is constraining the system from effective and efficient functioning. This is done by spelling out the challenges explicitly in a transparent manner without attempting to provide solutions since that would require a detailed exercise, which would be hopefully undertaken in the run-up to next year’s budget. In this brief review, we look at the issues and then go on to examine the proposals that are mainly a legacy of the past and had to be taken forward in some way or the other.

Challenges

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