The government has earmarked a grant of Rs. 39 billion for Pakistan Railways (PR) for the fiscal year 2019-20 to meet its losses against Rs. 37 billion allocated for 2018-19, according to the 2019 budget documents.
The government has budgeted a total of Rs. 113 billion for PR for the fiscal year 2019-20 against Rs 125.5 billion budgeted for the current fiscal year, showing a decrease of around seven percent.
Under the Public Sector Development Programm (PSDP), the government has earmarked Rs. 16 billion for the next fiscal year against Rs. 39 billion earmarked for the current fiscal year which was later revised to Rs. 28.05 billion. Another Rs. 97 billion has set aside to defray salaries and other expenses of the railway’s employees.
PR has a huge employee-related expenditure amounting to Rs. 97 billion for the next fiscal year against Rs. 87.5 billion for the outgoing year, which was later revised to Rs. 90 billion.
Operating cost for 2019-20 is estimated at Rs. 22.83 billion against the revised Rs. 20.985 billion for the current fiscal year. Pakistan Railways will spend Rs. 33.375 billion in terms of employees’ retirement benefits against Rs. 31.114 billion for the current fiscal year which was later revised to Rs. 31.614 billion.
Pakistan Railways will have to pay Rs. 173.2 million for catering to the transfers and postings of its employees. Further, Rs. 12.083 billion has been budgeted for allowance for next fiscal year against Rs 9.518 billion for the outgoing fiscal year.
An allocation of Rs. 4.5 billion has been made for the Main Line (ML-1) railway project for revamping the railway sector under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Rs. 400 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation of 300 traction motors, Rs. 1000 million for procurement/manufacture of 75 new D.E. locomotives, Rs. 1.4 billion for the reconstruction of assets damaged during the floods 2010, Rs. 5 million for the special repair of 150 DE locomotives, Rs. 505 million for upgrading/renovation of railway stations, Rs. 571 million for upgrading terminal facilities and dry ports, Rs. 800 million for the acquisition of land for a railway corridor at Gwadar, Rs 2.439 billion for procurement/manufacture of 820 high capacity/bogie freight wagons and 230 passenger coaches, Rs. 1000 million for replacement of old and obsolete signal gear from Lodhran-Khanewal-Shahdara-Bagh mainline section of Pakistan Railways.
The new initiatives of PR include procurement of new rolling stock, improving the signaling system, a feasibility study for provision of new rail links from Gwadar to the rest of the railway network to facilitate the Gwadar deep sea port, feasibility for connection of Thar coal to mainline and commercial feasibility for new double track from Hyderabad to Karachi.
According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, Pakistan Railways’ gross earning revenue grew by 10.3 percent and amounted to Rs 34.0661 billion during the fiscal year 2019 (July-February) compared to Rs. 30.891 billion during the same period last year.
However, a parliamentary panel was recently informed that Pakistan Railways suffered Rs. 28.62 billion in losses during the first eight months of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. The department generated Rs. 43 billion during the first eight months of the incumbent government against an expenditure of over Rs. 72 billion.