Rail Budget 2011 : The financial issues

The future growth of Indian Railways is to be increasingly subjected to the discipline of the capital market, including those overseas, even as

This time, the railway budget promised a dividend of Rs4,104.50 crore in this fiscal. It is 26% lower than Rs6,608.46 crore proposed in Mamata Banerjee’s 2010 budget.

It did this partly by cutting the back money dedicated on maintaining tracks and rolling stock.

Another feature of this budget was that it maintained the passenger fares constant. It has been the eight such year when the budget has not touched upon the passenger rates.

Moreover the freight rates too were kept constant.

Where will the money for new projects come from ?

Railways is looking to the debt market to finance its new projects especially infrastructure related projects.

Rail Budget 2011 : Economic Focus with Human Face

Mint Reports

The budget documents showed the railways had lowered the money transferred to its depreciation reserve fund by Rs1,900 crore for 2011-12 as compared with Banerjee’s projection last year. The fund is used to maintain and replace its assets.

Other than a lower transfer to the depreciation fund, Sahai said revamping the product mix during the fiscal to capitalize on the increasing magnitude of coal imports into India protected its receipts. Typically, two-thirds of receipts come from freight, primarily coal.

The Long Term issues

This year’s capital spending is to be financed partly through some of the railways’ reserve funds. These funds have seen a significant decline in net accretions over the years.

Mint Reports “In 2009-10, the last year for which final numbers are available, the aggregate closing balance of all funds fell by more than two-thirds in a single year to Rs5,032.06 crore.”

This railway budget has been silent on the big projects such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor. It has not indicated where the money for it will come and how long will it take to complete it. We discussed the case of Dedicated Freight Corridor and the concerns about Indian Railways Financial Health

Railway Budget 2011 – Dedicated Freight Corridor Project

The proposed Plan

Mint Reports, “In the budget estimates for 2011-12, the Plan outlay of Rs57,630 crore is to be met from Rs20,454 crore of market borrowings, including Rs10,000 crore of tax-free bonds.

Railways is in a position where it can no longer fund its projects through internal accruals of cash flows. The market borrowings are to funded through Indian Railways Finance Corp Ltd and it will carry an unwritten sovereign guarantee.

Railway Budget 2011- Causes for Indian Rail financial crisis

The total receipts of the railways in 2011-12 are projected at Rs1.09 trillion.

The dividend proposed is Rs6,734.72 crore.

The operating ratio (ratio of working expenses to gross earnings) is projected to improve marginally to 91.1% from around 98%.

The budget documents show that Indian railways expects to increase its contribution to the depreciation reserve fund by 23%.

Mamata going to market for money – Home – livemint.com.

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