Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the Railways does not need huge funds in the next Union Budget as it will focus on monetising its own assets. “Earlier, I had suggested that Railways in the coming days would not require huge money the way in it has been allotted in the last three Budgets,” Goyal told reporters here on the sidelines of the FICCI’s National Executive Committee meeting. “In the last three years, the investment in Railways has doubled than what was there during UPA II. And this year (2017-18), we have invested about Rs 1.31 lakh crore. A huge amount was given to Railways to improve safety and passenger amenities,” the minister said.
“My main priority in Railways is to see how we can generate internal resources. So Railways will take care of the budget by self-generated resources… there are many assets with Railways that can be monetised.”The Railways has enough funding for all the safety-related projects and for “all our growth plans”, said Goyal. He also said that with the money generated from the railway resources, “it will improve the services, run it efficiently and keep on serving people”.Asked about a fare hike in the next budget, Goyal said: “I believe we need to do an efficiency hike more than a fare hike.”
The Railways this year broke away from the British-era tradition of presenting a separate Rail Budget, which was in practice since 1924, as it was merged with the General Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Next year will be the second time that Jaitley will present the merged budget (for 2018-19).In the 2017-18 Budget, with focus on four major areas — passenger safety, capital and development works, cleanliness and finance and accounting reforms — Jaitley had allocated Rs 1.3 lakh crore to the Indian Railways, with a gross budgetary support of Rs 55,000 crore.