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India breaks with budget tradition to give railway reforms more steam

Train outlays, handled alone since 1924, grab spotlight in main package

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Passengers board an overcrowded train at a railway station in Ajmer, India.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- India's government on Wednesday presented a new budget geared heavily toward rural and infrastructure spending. The package for the fiscal year starting in April includes an 8% increase in outlays on railways, which have long been budgeted separately -- a move meant to signal Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve to reform the sector.

A total of 1.31 trillion rupees ($19.42 billion) worth of investment is to flow into the train system. Otherwise, out of overall expenditures of 21.47 trillion rupees, the rural, agricultural and allied sectors will get 1.87 trillion rupees, up 24% on the year.

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