26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Prabhu’s 5-yr, Rs 8.5L crore investment plan for Railways

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, in his Budget speech today, outlined an ambitious capital expenditure target of Rs 8.5 lakh crore over the next five years.

“Any organization must address short-term priorities without glossing over the long-term and medium-term vision,” Prabhu said. “As Vinoba Bhave once said, “You will stumble if you look close to your heels and would certainly fall if you ignore the vision of the long road.”

Prabhu said the Budget was part of a trilogy of documents that charts out the Railways’ vision for the future:

“The first in the series is the White Paper that has been placed today for the information of the House. The second part is today’s Budget for the year 2015-16. This will be followed by a Vision-2030 document that we intend to bring out later this year,” he said.

“The proposals contained in this Budget should, therefore, be seen as the beginning of a Five Year Action Plan to transform the Railways,” he added.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Pledge to re-invigorate Railways, says Suresh Prabhu

Railway Budget has focussed on issues like safety, increasing quota for senior citizens, said minister Suresh Prabhu.

In a post-Budget interaction with the media, Prabhu said a sum of Rs 6,581 crore has been approved to remove around 3,500 level-crossings. He said the ministry has rationalised freight rates in terms of classification.

Stating that Railways cannot depend on sole source of gross budgetary support, Prabhu said the government is looking at various options to raise money. “A large government organisation has committed Rs 20,000-crore investment in Railways, besides we are also in talks with the World Bank for funding.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Rail Budget lacks vision, road map to execute ideas: Cong

Opposition on Thursday attacked the first full-fledged Railway Budget of the BJP-led NDA government saying it lacked vision and road map to execute the “nice ideas it is full of”. Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, both of whom are also former Railway Ministers, slammed the Budget for lacking in substance and merely “weaving dreams”.

“It’s a nicely-worded Budget speech. But there is no vision as to how he is going to achieve goals. The minister says he will get into PPP model, BoT agreements, etc. If you depend on others, you are unlikely to meet your targets,” Kharge told reporters outside Parliament. Trivedi, who has at times gone against his party’s line in praising the government, was also disdainful for the Budget, saying it has woven a dream for people but lacks plan to fulfil it.

“It’s like saying I will go to moon. It’s an idea, a dream but what is important is how are you going to reach there. It’s all about future but your finances presently suffer from almost 50 per cent shortfall. How are you going to meet the gap,” he told reporters. Trivedi, who was Railway Minister in UPA government and had to quit due to his party’s opposition to his reform measures, went on to say that it was not a Budget but just an idea.

“I see Railways going the Air India way. Its coffers are empty,” he said. Senior BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy also attacked the Railway Budget, calling it hollow and disappointing. He said he would give only 2 out 10 points to it. “It’s completely hollow. He (Prabhu) spoke of an idea but that idea has not been enunciated, meaning not much thought has gone behind it,” he told PTI. Kharge also criticised Prabhu’s decision to not announce new trains, saying development is not static like stagnant water.

26Feb

Rail Budget 2015-16 India Update : Faster rail network growth in J&K, commits Prabhu

There would be faster rail network growth in Jammu and Kashmir and connectivity provided to all the Northeastern states, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday. “Indian Railways is committed for faster rail network in Jammu and Kashmir.

The rail connectivity between Jammu region and the Kashmir valley through the Banihal tunnel provides all-weather connectivity with the rest of the country,” he said in his Budget address.

Prabhu said the commissioning of Udhampur-Katra was “like a dream come true for millions of pilgrims”. He also said the Railways was “committed to provide rail connectivity to all the Northeastern States” and announced that Meghalaya has been brought on the railway map of India, while direct connectivity to Delhi has been provided to Arunachal Pradesh.

Further, the Barak Valley of Assam would be brought on the broad gauge in March this year. “The work for connecting the remaining states of this (Northeastern) region is progressing well,” the Minister said.

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