Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is planning to double the national transporter's revenue to Rs 4 lakh crore by 2025. In an interview to the Economic Times, the Minister said: "Our target is to turn the Railways profitable so that it doesn't have to take any gross budgetary support from the government. We intend to double revenues by 2025."
To achieve this target, Goyal will focus on increasing capacity by improving signals, expanding the electrified network, adding more lines in congested routes and enhancing utilisation of assets. The Minister believes that if Indian Railways succeeds in electrify large parts of its network, then it can easily save around Rs 15,000 crore in fuel bill itself.
In the interview, Goyal said that just by introducing modern signalling on the golden quadrilateral route, railways can increase the line capacity by 50 per cent. The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network that connect many of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of the country. It forms a quadrilateral connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
"These lines currently carry 58 per cent of freight. Just imagine the kind of revenue we can get by just investing Rs 12,000 crore in signalling, which will allow us to run more trains in shorter blocks," the Railways Minister said.
Among the areas where Goyal is working to double the Railways' revenue are signalling, train punctuality and freight capacity. Indian Railways wants to increase its share of freight from 33 per cent to 45 per cent.
According to Goyal, if Railways adds more capacity, its freight rates will also come down that will increase volumes. "The speed of trains is also being increased, which will allow us to run more trains. All of it will help us earn more money. Average speed of passenger trains is also being increased by 25 per cent," the Minister said.
While presenting the budget this year in February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that strengthening the railway network and enhancing Railways' carrying capacity has been a major focus of the government. Indian Railways capex for FY 2018-19 was pegged at Rs 1,48,528 crore. A large part of the capex is devoted to capacity creation. The ministry is moving fast towards optimal electrification of railway network. "4000 kilometers are targeted for commissioning during 2017-18," Arun Jaitley had said during the budget .