- Tilak Raj Seth, Head Mobility, Siemens, and CII Chairman, Rail Transportation & Equipment Division
Tilak Raj Seth, Head Mobility, Siemens, and CII Chairman, Rail Transportation & Equipment Division, on the Union Budget 2017-18:
The industry was keen to see the representation the rail sector would get in this combined Budget, the first in independent India. The Finance Minister did a good job focusing on key and strategic measures for the railway sector. The increased Budget allocation to railways, focus on safety through the ‘Rail Sanraksha Kosh’, an enhancement of throughput are very welcome measures. Additional resources will come to the transport sector basis the announced measures of modifying the metro policy, PPP operation of Tier-II cities and through the ‘Multi Model Transport Approach’.
Indian Railways will contribute to the enduring success of Indian growth story through its pivotal role in ensuring reliable delivery of goods and services as well as providing a safe and secure environment for businesses and people across India. We are really happy to see adequate representation in the combined Union Budget bringing it in the centre stage of the economic growth. With focus on spending more on infrastructure area, the planned Rs 8.5 lakh crore investments towards Indian Railways modernisation initiative are on the right track. Rs. 1.31 lakh crore has been budgeted for Railways for capital expenditure and development in 2017-18. Focus on improving the throughput by further 10 per cent through various infrastructural developments will help railways in a long way.
Provisions in the Budget with a focus on safety, infrastructure development and energy-efficiency through various initiatives are a welcome move. A separate safety fund (Rail Sanraksha Kosh) of Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years reaffirms the commitment. Railways now should invest in state of the art technologies to enhance safety eg train protection warning system and train collision avoidance system and automate signaling and safety systems. Phase-wise but speedy implementation of these technologies would help elimination of unmanned level crossings by 2020 will enhance the safety in rail transport and needs to be implemented at the earliest. 7,000 solar powered railway stations in the medium term, implementation of degradable waste to energy are some of the moves aimed at improving energy-efficiency, apart from the infrastructural development initiatives like increasing speed of electrification.
A multimodal and integrated transport system is critical for any nation. It directly impacts the nation’s environment, quality of life, and economic growth. Considerable capacity addition on a sustained manner across the railway network is essential for sustainable economic growth and development.
Railways is clearly defining this through two major initiatives: