Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presenting Interim Budget 2019 on Friday in the Lok Sabha.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presenting Interim Budget 2019 on Friday in the Lok Sabha.

Budget 2019: Railways experienced safest year, says Goyal

ANI | Updated: Feb 01, 2019 14:40 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 1 (ANI): Indian Railways experienced the "safest year" in its history as all unmanned level crossings on the broad gauge network have been eliminated, said Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 in Parliament on Friday.
In the Interim Budget 2019-20, the Railways has been allocated Rs 64,587 crore. The Railways' overall capital expenditure programme is of Rs.1,58,658 crore.
Goyal, who succeeded Suresh Prabhu as Railways Minister in September 2017 following a spate of train accidents, said the people of India would soon have world-class train experience through semi-high speed train Vande Bharat Express, which is indigenously developed.
"Vande Bharat Express will give the Indian passengers world-class experience with speed, service and safety. This major leap in wholly developed technology by our engineers will give an impetus to the Make in India programme and create jobs," he said.
"Vande Bharat Express is a ‘Make in India’ initiative that will help create more jobs as more such train sets are manufactured for service across the Indian Railways network," he added.
He also spoke about the efforts made by the government in boosting infrastructure in Northeast India after coming to power in 2014.
"The number of operational airports has crossed 100 with the commissioning of the Pakyong airport in Sikkim. Domestic passenger traffic has doubled during the last five years leading to a large number of jobs being created also," he said
"Today, India is the fastest highway developer in the world with 27 km of highways built each day. Projects stuck for decades like the Eastern Peripheral Highway around Delhi or the Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have been completed," he added.
The Union Finance Minister also spoke about the initiatives taken by the government to boost the logistics sector of the country.
In Parliament, Goyal stated, "The flagship programme of Sagarmala along the coastal areas of the country will develop ports for faster handling of import and export cargo. For the first time, container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi. Our Government will introduce container cargo movement to the North East as well, by improving the navigation capacity of the Brahmaputra river."
He said that people of the North East have been given significant benefits of infrastructure development in the Interim Budget. Arunachal Pradesh came on the air map recently and Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India's rail map for the first time. Allocation for the North Eastern Areas is being proposed to be increased by 21 per cent to Rs.58,166 crore in 2019-20.
Touching on the efforts to promote renewable energy,  he said that "India provided leadership to the global effort to address the problem of climate change. Our commitment to promote renewable energy is reflected in setting-up the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty-based international inter-governmental organisation headquartered in India. India's installed solar generation capacity has grown over ten times in last five years. This sector is now creating lakhs of new age jobs.” 
He said that India's import dependence on crude oil and natural gas is of big concern to the government. "While we have taken a large number of measures to moderate the increasing demand through the usage of biofuel and alternate technologies, urgent action is needed to increase hydrocarbon production to reduce imports. A high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee, constituted by our Government, has made several specific recommendations, including transforming the system of bidding for exploration, changing from revenue sharing to exploration programme, for Category II and III basins. The Government is in the process of implementing these recommendations," the Minister said. (ANI)