Indian Railways

INDIA: Publishing its final results for the 2022-23 financial year, Indian Railways has reported a 27·75% increase in revenue for the 12 months to March 31.

Reflecting economic buoyancy in the face of global headwinds, the national railway reported revenues of Rs2·44tr for the year. This was a significant increase from its total revenues of Rs1·91tr for the previous year when business was still impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to IR, freight revenue in 2022-23 was up by nearly 15% to a total of Rs1·62tr. Particularly significant was an all-time record increase of 61% in passenger revenues to Rs633bn. Revenue from the ‘other coaching’ and ‘sundries’ categories also showed an upward trend: the former rising from Rs49·0bn in 2021-22 to Rs59·5bn, and the latter from Rs 60·7bn to Rs84·4bn.

Freight remains IR’s principal source of income. The railway handled 1 512 million tonnes in 2022-23, up from 1 418 million tonnes the previous year. An IR spokesperson explained that ‘Indian Railways has made sustained efforts to improve the ease of doing business, as well as improving the service delivery at competitive prices, which has resulted in new traffic coming to railways from both conventional and non-conventional commodity streams’.

The increase in freight traffic reflected the results of a campaign branded as ‘Hungry For Cargo’, and work by the railway’s business development units, along with ‘agile policymaking’ and a more customer-focused approach. However, the final result was still below the railway’s internal target of 1 700 million tonnes for the 2022-23 financial year.

IR has set a long-term objective of increasing annual freight loadings to 3 000 million tonnes by 2030, and achieving an overall national modal share of between 45% and 50% as envisaged in the National Rail Plan. Rail’s market share currently stands at less than 20%, following a period of continued decline in recent years.

Reflecting the government’s commitment to unprecedented levels of infrastructure investment, IR reported that a record 6 542 route-km of line had been electrified during the financial year, an increase of 2·76% on the 6 366 route-km energised in 2021-22. At the same time, 5 243 km of track was completed for new line, double-tracking and regauging projects, up 2 909 km in 2021-22 and an average of 14·4 km per day.