Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on 25 February 2016 presented the Rail Budget 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha. This was the third rail budget of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and the second railway budget for Suresh Prabhu.
The major statistical highlights of the Budget encompassing Financial Performance 2015-16 and Budget Estimates 2016-17 are given below:
Financial Performance 2015-16
• Net reduction in Gross Traffic Receipts by 15744 crore (Revised Estimates) in 2015-16 compared to the Budget Estimate (BE) target of 183578 crore rupees. Passenger earnings scaled down keeping in view the persistent negative growth trend since 2013-14 both in the suburban and non-suburban non-PRS segment of travel.
• Freight earnings impacted mainly on account of low demand from the core sector resulting in resetting the target in RE 2015-16 to 111853 crore rupees.
• Stringent economy and austerity measures adopted to contain the Ordinary Working Expenses (OWE) due to which budgeted Ordinary Working Expenses of 119410 crore rupees decreased in the Revised Estimates 2015-16 to 110690 crore rupees that is by 8720 crore rupees.
• BE provided for an appropriation of 34900 crore rupees to the Pension Fund. However, based on trend, the pension outgo moderately decreased to 34500 crore rupees in RE.
• Internal resource generation diminished and appropriation to DRF moderated to 5500 crore rupees in RE from the BE 2015-16 provisioning of 7900 crore rupees. Excess of receipts over expenditure in RE 2015-16 stands at 11402.40 crore rupees.
• Plan size for 2015-16 is currently estimated at 100000 crore rupees.
Budget Estimates 2016-17
• Gross Traffic Receipts kept at 184820 crore rupees. Passenger earnings growth has been pegged at 12.4 percent and earnings target budgeted at 51012 crore rupees.
• The freight traffic is pegged at incremental traffic of 50 million tonnes, anticipating a healthier growth in the core sector of economy. Goods earnings is accordingly proposed at 117933 crore rupees.
• Other coaching and sundries projected at 6185 crore rupees and 9590.3 crore rupees respectively.
• OWE provides for the implementation of the 7th Central Pay Commission.
• Pension outgo budgeted at 45500 crore rupees in 2016-17.
• Higher staff cost and pension liability impacts the internal resource position of the Railways.
• Appropriation to Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF) from revenue placed at 3200 crore rupees and that from Production Units at 200 crore rupees.
• A withdrawal of 3160 crore rupees from DRF on net basis proposed though the gross expenditure to be met from DRF in the Annual Plan estimated at 7160 crore rupees.
• 5750 crore rupees proposed to be appropriated to the Capital fund. With a draw-down of 1250 crore rupees from previous balances in the fund, plan requirement of 7000 crore rupees for repayment of principal component of lease charges to IRFC met.
• Railways are preparing a Plan size of 121000 crore rupees in 2016-17.
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