Budget 2024: Infra thrust to push railways’ capex by 76% in 5 years; IRCON, NBCC among top picks

   2024-07-02 18:07

While unveiling the Interim Budget 2024 on February 1, Sitharaman announced an 11.1 per cent increase in capital expenditure (capex) for fiscal year 2024-25 (FY25), raising the allocation to 11.11 lakh crore to develop infrastructure projects. The infra-capex allocation was double the allocation 10 years ago. The key infra sectors including railways, road transport, and highways had utilised up to 85 per cent of their budgetary allocations in the first nine months of FY24.

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According to most industry bodies, key technological interventions, private sector engagement, market liberalization, and efficient resource utilization will ensure a strong and reliable future for India’s infrastructure sector and transport sectors. Here’s what leading industry leaders expect from the upcoming Interim Budget 2024 to strengthen India’s infrastructure and railway sector:


Infrastructure investment in the economy must not be less than 10 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to achieve a state of art infrastructure and to become a developed economy by 2047, according to industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PHDCCI).

It is recommended that concentration is needed on tier-2 cities, particularly the SMART cities, internal parts of the country and rural areas to further enhance the penetration of ease of doing business, according to PHDCCI. The budget is anticipated to strongly emphasise infrastructure development, particularly in roadways, highways, and tunnels. 

‘’A projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4 per cent in capital expenditure from 2021 to 2026 underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing transportation networks and connectivity,” said Amit Goel, Co-Founder & Chief Global Strategist, Pace 360.
Top infra stock picks ahead of Budget 2024: Texmaco Infra and NBCC

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Indian Railways

To improve logistics development in the nation, better technology is recommended, including rail-road connectivity, IoT, automation, blockchain, cloud computing, AI, and robotics. Efficient supply chains, improved warehouse design, pest control, and inventory management using specialized software is suggested, according to PHDCCI.

The capital expenditure in the railways sector is expected to increase by 76 per cent over the next five years, reaching 2.55 lakh crore, according to Goel. The plans include prioritizing dedicated tracks for coal and mineral transportation, improving port connectivity, and addressing congestion issues to bolster efficiency and capacity, according to the analyst.

Top railway stock pick ahead of Budget 2024: IRCON International

Indian Railways reported a record freight loading of 135.46 million tonnes (MT) in June 2024, marking an increase of 12.40 MT compared to the same period last year. According to the railway ministry, the growth represents an improvement of approximately 10.07 per cent year-on-year. Financially, Indian Railways also recorded substantial earnings from freight operations during June 2024.

The revenue generated amounted to 14,798.11 crore, which reflects a notable increase of 1,481.29 crore or 11.12 per cent compared to the earnings of 13,316.81 crore in June 2023. Coal shipments led the tally with 60.27 MT, excluding imported coal. The imported coal followed closely with 8.82 MT.

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Also, railway zones have issued circulars informing the extension of the existing time table of trains till December 31, 2024 after the Railway Board asked them to do so. Every year, Indian Railways releases the working time table of trains, known as Trains At A Glance (TAG), before June 30, which is effective from July 1.

“The Railway Board is reviewing the timings and running status of trains. The Board wants to make it more efficient hence the release date of the new time table has been extended to January 1, 2025 and till then the old time table will continue,” said a Railway Board official.

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Published: 02 Jul 2024, 09:35 PM IST

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