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
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”.