2022 Budget Expectations for Railways Sector by Alain SPOHR, MD, Alstom India

Alstom believes that Railways can prove to be one of the champion sectors to provide fillip to Make in India, incentivize foreign investments and deliver a big boost to the economy. We are positive that this year’s budget will be as progressive as last year’s, where the Government allocated a record sum for capital expenditure.

Our expectations are in line with the priority accorded to infrastructure projects by the Government such as National Infrastructure Pipeline and PM Gati Shakti (National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity). An enhanced capital outlay to encourage railway modernization plans for creation of infrastructure as well as replacing railway passenger and freight fleets would be ideal. Special emphasis on multi-modal connectivity with enhanced opportunities under PPP mode is expected to boost activity in this sector.

We agree with the Finance Minister that connectivity is the essence of the economy and improving intercity connectivity is critical for the formation of smart cities and boosting the pace and volume of economy. We are expecting additional support for introduction of new technologies such as Metro Lite and Metro Neo for promoting mobility in Tier II & III cities.

We are hopeful that the government will further improve on the ease of doing business in India as there is a huge potential for growth. Introducing production linked incentives for railway manufacturers and exporters promoting Make-in-India would be encouraging while also fast-tracking the implementation of projects and supporting the manufacturing ecosystem. Certainty in policy and adequate government support for project execution can vastly improve private investment in the sector.

With the ambition to become the largest Green Railways in the world moving towards becoming a ‘net zero carbon emission’, we are hopeful that measures to promote energy efficient and carbon-friendly technologies, processes and practices will feature in the upcoming budget.

Promoting a level playing field for original domestic as well as foreign companies, which have invested substantially in India and contribute towards economic growth, will attract additional investments into the country. The Government must consider supporting companies that are significantly invested in India, conducting cutting- edge R&D and executing large railway development projects to come forward and make India an export hub.

These measures will also help India become an Atmanirbhar Bharat and achieve its aspiration of a $5 trillion GDP.