The Rail Budget is an innovative comprehensive plan for modernisation of infrastructure and improving the customer experience, according to India Inc.

Rajeev Jyoti, Chief Executive of Larsen & Toubro Ltd, said: “In earlier years, we’ve gone around the range for ₹50,000-60,000 crore, this time it’s ₹1,10,000 crore (of planned expenditure). This very clearly demonstrates that the Government is looking to kick-start the economy using the Railways.”

Prabhu talked about pension funds and creating state-level joint ventures. There is a creativity element that he’s demonstrated, Jyoti added.

Umesh Choudhury, VC and MD, Titagarh Wagons Ltd, said the proposal for an independent regulator will ensure that private investment is protected and encouraged. “Measures like utilising railway land to make a logistics corporation will indirectly ensure that one of the biggest constraints to operators, that is, the non-availability of land will be dissolved,” he said.

Nalin Jain, President & CEO, GE Transportation, said: “The goal of having 1.5 billion tonnes of freight is significant and the only way to do that is capacity expansion.” Short-term measures such as increasing sidings length, doubling trains, quadrupling the tracks are all low-hanging fruits which can be achieved to deliver on the 88.5 per cent operating ratio and managing the ₹1,10,000 crore of investment.

Satish Chander, Director General, Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), said the subsidy component will increase with the freight hike, which will have a negative impact. Freight subsidy payments are not made on time so working capital and interest costs will rise. He added nearly 80 per cent of urea is transported by train and felt the subsidy could go up by about ₹300 crore.

Industry bodies like CII, FICCI, and Assocham also welcomed the Budget proposals.