New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday presented the second Union Budget of the second Narendra Modi government, making several announcements, including for Railways. (Click here for all Union Budget 2020-related news)
Among several announcements made for Railways, the Finance Minister said that more Tejas Express trains will be run to connect various tourist destinations across the country. Introduced in May 2017, the Tejas-class trains are the country’s first semi-high speed fully air-conditioned trains with modern onboard facilities.
There are currently four operational Tejas trains in the country: Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express (launched on May 22, 2017); Chennai Egmore-Maduai Tejas Express (launched on March 1, 2019); New Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express (launched on October 4, 2019) and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express (launched on January 19, 2020).
The New Delhi-Lucknow Tejas and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas trains are also the country’s first and only two privately-operated trains, with the former being the first to the distinction. The two are operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of Indian Railways.
For Railways, the Finance Minister also made the following announcements:
- Setting up ‘Kisan Rail’ through public-private partnership (PPP) model
- Commissioning of 550 wifi facilities at railway stations
- Setting up of large solar power capacity alongside tracks on Railways-owned land
- Four stations to be redeveloped under PPP model
- Achieving 11,000-km track electrification
- Work on Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project
The merging of the Railway Budget with the Union Budget was announced in September 2016. The first unified Budget was presented by the late Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2017.