New Delhi, Feb 1: The Railways has been allocated a “record”  Rs 1.10 lakh crore in Budget 2021 of which Rs 1.07 lakh crore accounts for capital expenditure, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday.

While the allocation in 2021-22 has been termed as a “record” for the national transporter, it had a slightly higher allocation of Rs 1.11 lakh crore in the revised budget of 2020-21.

The national carrier will monetize the upcoming Dedicated Freight Corridor assets for operations and maintenance after commissioning and the Indian Railways will have a National Rail Plan to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030, she said.

Presenting the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman also applauded the services provided by the Railways to transport essential goods across the country during the coronavirus lockdown.

“I am announcing a record sum of Rs 1,10,055 crore for Railways of which Rs 1,07,100 crore is for capital expenditure only,” she said.

Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma on Monday described the Union Budget 2021-22 as a “transformational” Budget for the national transporter and said the budget has focus on deliverance.

“This Budget is a different budget altogether. It is a transformational budget, it is a future ready budget for railway, it is path breaking budget,” Sharma said addressing a press conference here.

He said the focus of this Budget is on deliverance, commitment to delivery, time schedule, focus on customers, focus on technology, induction to provide better services to customers, better passenger and freight services.

He said the works done during the coronavirus crisis resulted in the average speed of the trains showing a dramatic growth and in improving the speed of freight trains from 23 kmph to 46 kmph.

Sitharaman lauded the safety figures of the Railways and said the safety measures undertaken in the past few years have borne results.

“To further strengthen this effort, high density network and highly utilized network routes of Indian Railways will be provided with an indigenously developed automatic train protection system that eliminates train collision due to human error,” she said.

Discussing the National Rail Plan mentioned by the Finance Minister in her Budget speech, Sharma said the NRP envisages the plan for Railways for 2050 for which the infrastructure needs to be prepared by 2030.

Sharma also said national projects of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North Eastern region have been allocated the highest ever outlay of Rs 12,985 crore.

Discussing the future plan of railways, the CEO said, “At least 150 more private trains through PPP mode, more Tejas trains, more vista dome coach trains for tourists, 3rd ac economy class coaches, SMART coaches which are providing more features like announcements, temperature control system and to check water levels, head on generation cars to make space for more coaches.”

He said satellite-based tracking of trains with ISRO is already operational on 6,500 trains. – PTI

Budget Highlights

Fiscal position and health outlay:

 Spending on healthcare hiked by 137 pc to over Rs 2.23 lakh crore

 Rs 35,000 cr outlay for COVID vaccine in fiscal beginning April 1

 Sharp increase in capital expenditure for next fiscal to Rs 5.54 lakh cr, up from Rs 4.39 lakh cr of last fiscal

 Fiscal deficit for current fiscal at 9.5 pc, against 3.5 pc budgeted

 Fiscal deficit for next fiscal pegged at 6.8 pc, government to borrow Rs 12 lakh crore

 Committed to bring down fiscal deficit below 4.5 pc of GDP by 2025-26

TAX PROPOSALS:

 ITR filing not mandatory for senior citizens above 75 years, banks to deduct TDS

 Time bar for reopening I-T assessment cases halved to 3 years, for serious frauds it is 10 years

 Income tax return filers increased to 6.48 cr in 2020 from 3.31 cr in 2014.

 Agri infra cess of 2.5 pc on gold, silver and dore bars; 35 pc on apples

 Rs 2.5 per litre agri infra cess on petrol, Rs 4 on diesel

 New Agri Infra Development Cess to be applicable from February 2

 Tax deptt to notify rules to remove hardships of double taxation faced by NRIs

 Tax holiday for startups, capital gains exemption extended by 1 yr

 Tax exemption for aircraft leasing cos; tax exemption for notified affordable housing for migrant workers.

 Rs 1.5 lakh tax deduction on payment of interest for affordable housing extended by 1 yr

Exemption from tax audit limit doubled to Rs 10 cr turnover for companies doing most of their business through digital modes

Proposes review of over 400 customs duty exemptions; to begin extensive consultation from October 2021

 Customs duty on certain auto parts, solar equipment raised

Allocation and reforms:

 FDI in insurance increased to 74 pc from 49 pc

 Disinvestment target pegged at Rs 1.75 lakh crore

 BPCL, IDBI Bank, two more PSU banks, one insurance company to be privatised among others

 PSU Bank recapitalisation pegged at Rs 20,000 crore next fiscal

 Aatmanirbhar health programme with an outlay of Rs 64,180 cr to be introduced

 Budget proposals rest on 6 pillars – health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infra, inclusive development for aspirational India, human capital, innovation and R&D, Minimum Governance and Maximum Governance

 Govt to introduce a bill to set up development financial institution with an outlay of Rs 20,000 cr

 Voluntary vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old vehicles; fitness tests after 20 yrs for personal vehicles

 National monetisation pipeline for potential brownfield infrastructure assets

 Rs 3,726 cr for forthcoming Census which will be the first digital census. – PTI