Rail Budget: NDA govt's pragmatism over populism

Jul 09 2014, 10:42 IST
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Rail Budget: NDA govt puts safety and passenger amenities on top Rail Budget: NDA govt puts safety and passenger amenities on top
SummaryIn a marked departure from past Rail Budgets, Modi govt, in its first year, refrains from announcing bouquet of sops.

In a marked departure from past Rail Budgets, the NDA government, in its first year, has refrained from announcing a bouquet of sops, focussing instead on measures like private investments — both domestic and foreign.

Here are announcements by Rail Minister Sadananda Gowda to bring the Indian Railways back on track:

DECRIES mismanagement, populism of previous

budgets; takes hard look at health; urges immediate course correction.

DECLINES to announce new projects; says only 1 of 99 new line projects sanctioned in last 10 years is complete; “the more projects we add, the thinner we spread our

resources...”

PUTS safety and passenger amenities on top, says

available resources must go to “high-priority areas like safety..., improving amenities and services, with high emphasis on cleanliness”.

New revenue streams

‘UNREALISTIC’ to expect fare and freight rate hikes will be enough to raise funds;

internal revenue sources, govt funding too ‘insufficient’.

RLY PSUs: Financially sound; to bring in investible surplus funds in Rlys infrastructure projects.

PRIVATE INVESTMENT: In rail infrastructure through both domestic route, FDI; seeking Cabinet approval for FDI in rail.

PPP: To be pursued; to

finance most future projects.

OTHERS: Aspects of railway planning and mobilisation to be “managed strategically”.

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