“My focus will be safe safety, safety, safety,” Trivedi told the Lok Sabha while present the rail budget for the next fiscal in the Lok Sabha. This was the decision he took as soon as he supposed charge of his ministry previous year against the backdrop of a rail accident in Uttar Pradesh, he added.
According to the minister, Indian Railways will invest Rs 7.35 lakh crore during the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), against Rs 1.92 lakh crore in the recent one. By then, it will double its contribution to India’s gross domestic product to 2%.
Trivedi said that the expend of Rs 60,100 crore proposed for 2012-13 will be the highest ever and added that the network will need Rs 14 lakh crore over the next 10 years for modernisation.
But, the country’s largest employer also needs to look at inventive ways to make funds thus that its dependence on budgetary support is lessened.
The railways’ plan to introduce about 1, 50,000 employees in Groups C and D is already likely to push its wage bill further up by about Rs 2,000 crore. The railways spent about 42% of their earnings in wages and allowances and another 17% in pensions in 2009-10.
In 2011-12, half the net working expenses (Rs 73,650 crore) were budgeted as employees cost.
Trivedi will also set up an expert group to make sure the safety standards and assist in modernization of the railways. The ministry is looking at an investment of around Rs 39,110 crore to modernise signalling system.