Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is presenting his second rail budget. He is expected to outline concrete measures to bolster railways' finance at a time when revenue collection is under stress, while demand for funds for modernization and improving passenger facilities is on the rise.
Here are 10 numbers to understand the rail budget:
1)88.5 per cent is the operating ratio railways is targeting for 2015-16 fiscal year. In simple terms, it means that the railways wants to spend 88.5 paise for each rupee of revenue. If railways achieves this target, it will be its best performance in nine years.
2) Rs 1.20 lakh crore is the amount railways is likely to commit for capital expenditure this year. Last year, the plan size was nearly Rs 1 lakh crore.
3) Rs 8.5 lakh crore: This is the amount railways wants to spend in five years for its modernization of its infrastructure. To meet the five year target, investments have to speed up.
4) Rs 28,450 crore is the amount of money railways needs to implement salary hike recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission for 2.6 million railway employees and pensioners.
5) Rs 40,000 crore is what the railways is likely to get from the central government as budgetary support.
6) Rs 30,000 crore is the amount of losses railways is likely incur this year on subsidizing passenger fares. Train fares are cross-subsidized by freight fares.
7) 23 million is the number of passengers railways carry every day. That's equivalent to moving the entire population of the Australia in a day. The railways runs 21,000 passenger and freight trains per day connecting over 7,000 stations across the country.
8) 67 per cent is the contribution of freight in railways earnings. The share of freight carried by railways among total freight carried by all means has declined from nearly 90 per cent in 1950-51 to just around 30 per cent because successive governments have cross-subsidized passenger fares with freight fares. Passenger fares contribute just 26 per cent to earnings.
9) 200 km is the average number of kilometers added per year to rail route since independence. In the last 67 years, just 13,000 kilometers of rail route has been added for a total route of 64,460 kilometers, which is the fourth-largest in the world, but much lower than China's over 1 lakh kilometers.
10) 13.1 lakh is the number of people railways employs making it the country's single biggest employer.