Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said the 2016-17 Railway Budget will focus on attracting investments for augmenting present and future facilities.
“Comfort of passengers is today’s requirement but augmentation of facilities is the future need. Our effort is to take forward these initiatives hand-in-hand,” he said after inaugurating enhanced passenger amenities at the railway station here.
The government is already in the process of finalising the budget and would continue with the measures started last year for development of Railways, he said, adding that the BJP government had complied with the majority of announcements and promises it made in last year’s railway budget.
“I am very happy to say that in the last budget we had promised many things for the people of India and most of the announcements have been fully complied with,” he said.
Pointing out that Railways had suffered since many decades due to ‘neglect’ and ‘dearth of investments’, he said efforts now were to bring in more investments to rectify this.
Steps should be taken to ensure that Indian Railways remains the backbone of the country’s economy and would continue to drive economic growth, he said.
On the new initiatives to implement projects in states, he said the Union government had launched a programme to enter into partnership with states to float a Joint Venture company.
As many as 17 states had come forward to cooperate with the Joint Venture.
“Kerala along with Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states to sign an MoU with Indian Railways for this venture,” he said, adding that the government’s endeavour was to make the state one of Railways’ investment hubs in the country.
The allocation for Kerala in the railway budget had increased and it would further go up this year, he said.
While the state was ahead in terms of many socialÂ indicators, including literacy, human resource development and infant mortality rate, it lagged behind in economic and infrastructure developments, he said.
Social development and economic development should go hand in hand, Prabhu added.
The minister also launched passenger amenities at Kollam, Ernakulam and Palakkad railway stations simultaneously via video conferencing.