Indian Railways (IR) has a total route network of about 64,000 kilometers spread across 7,000 stations and operates more than 18,000 trains every day. India has the world's fourth largest rail network, which is the second largest under single management. Over 22 million passengers travel by trains on a daily basis in India.
In addition, around 2.5 million tonnes (MT) of freight is transported via trains on a daily basis. These include a huge variety of goods like mineral ores, iron and steel, fertilizers, petrochemicals, and agricultural produce. IR is estimated to generate revenues worth US$ 22.1 billion in 2011-12.
Freight is the major revenue earning segment for the railways, accounting for 74 per cent of the total. Freight traffic aggregated to 1,020 MT in 2010-11.
The Railways budget 2011-12 earmarks an outlay of US$ 12 billion, the highest ever so far. The cumulative FDI inflow into the sector stood at US$ 132.8 million during April 2000-March 2011.
Increasing urbanisation coupled with growing income is driving the increase in the passenger segment, while the growing industrialisation across country has increased freight traffic over the last decade. The Ministry of Railways has proposed development of 50 world-class stations in the public private participation (PPP) mode to improve and enhance rail infrastructure in the country.
The Government has increased the scope of PPP, to beyond providing maintenance and other such supporting roles. Government is providing new lines, increasing the rolling stock to build up capacity. The Government is investing heavily in building rail infrastructure in the country. With increasing participation expected from private players–both domestic and foreign–due to favourable policy measures, freight traffic is expected to grow rapidly over the medium - to long-term. The Indian Railways has set a target of having a freight market share of 50 per cent by 2030 from 30 per cent in 2010.
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