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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today termed the rail budget as a missed opportunity and said the Narendra Modi government could have used its maiden rail budget to spell out its long term vision for the improvement of the health of railways.
"The Narendra Modi government could have used its maiden rail budget to spell out its long term vision for the improvement of the health of railways, but it is unfortunately missing."
"The budget appears to be silent on addressing these long term concerns and belies expectations of a long term vision," AAP said in a statement
The party also added that there was nothing concrete in the budget on the improvement of safety and maintenance of the massive railway network across the country.
"Nearly 2.5 lakh posts are lying vacant in the railways and out of these 1.6 lakh posts are in departments directly concerned with the railways safety, but nothing has been done to fill up these posts," the party said.
It added that the budget's focus has been upper class commuters, whose number is miniscule in terms of passenger traffic, instead of the common man, who forms the bulk of railway passenger traffic.
"Facilities should be provided to all categories of passengers, but the focus on those who can spend more for facilities does not set a healthy trend," the statament said.
The party said the railway minister has made an honest confession about the large number of pending projects and the it agreed with the government that the focus should be on execution of existing projects.
"In this respect too, the minister did not mention any roadmap on how the government plans to complete the job," the party said.
AAP noted that it is not, in principle, opposed to FDI in railways, but the minister’s announcement did not specify in which field does the NDA government propose to invite the FDI. It also cautioned the government over the PPP model.
"There are many sensitive sectors in Railways, like the one handling the spectrum that cannot be opened to foreign investors.
"The thrust on implementing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in railways is a dangerous trend. The concept of PPP model so far in the country has been that the public sector bears the risk and the private sector walks away with profit, such a model can spell disaster for the railways." the party said.