Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22 in Lok Sabha, announced that government aims to build Metro Lite and Metro Neo for Tier 1 cities and peripheral areas of Tier 1 cities.

Sitharaman said that 702 km of metro rail is already in operation while 1,016 km is at work. 

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Reportedly, the government in November last year said that it will approve national standard specifications for Metro Neo for cities with a population of less than 10 lakh or suburbs of bigger cities.  

A “Metro Neo” corridor is a no-frills, low-cost urban transit system. It is a rail-guided urban transport system with rubber-tyred electric coaches powered by an overhead traction system, which runs on elevated or at-grade sections. Metro Neo costs around 20-25% of a Metro has lower maintenance costs. 

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Cities like Nashik in Maharashtra and Warangal in Telangana have been pitched for Metro Neo systems, government officials had said in November, reports The Indian Express.

Reportedly, the government had proposed to build 910 km of Metro projects of various kinds across India in the next five years to take the total to around 1,600 km.

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Meanwhile, a MetroLite also has a lower carrying capacity, compared to general Metros, and reportedly costs around 40% of a Metro system. The central government is, reportedly, planning to introduce ‘Metrolite’ in 50 small cities across India.