NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed the Rs 1,49,176-crore Railway Budget presented by his Cabinet colleague D V Sadananda Gowda as the “growth engine” for the whole nation, and criticised the previous governments for thinking in a “piecemeal” and “ad-hoc” manner. In a televised statement soon after the Railway Budget was presented in the Lok Sabha, Modi said: “This Rail Budget will set the direction not just for the Railways, but through the railways, for the entire country.”
He also described the railways as “a growth engine” for India and that the Rail Budget would “speed up the development of the country, modernise Indian Railways, and provide greater security and services to the people.”
Highlighting the ports sector’s need for rail connectivity, Modi said the initiatives taken in the Budget for facilitating global trade “will go a long way in establishing India’s economic prosperity.”
Noting that an institution like the railways cannot be run in an ad-hoc manner, the prime minister said institutional mechanisms were required for decision-making, vision and initiatives.
“This Budget will strengthen institutional mechanisms,” he said, adding that it also laid emphasis on “transparency and integrity.” Pointing out that Indians used railways for travel extensively, Modi said they belonged to various communities, and their requirement of special facilities would be taken care of.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the objectives of the Budget would be successfully achieved. “After a long time, the country will experience that it is ‘Indian’ railways. The decadence of the last few decades in the railways, when it was looked at in a piecemeal manner, has made way for the first time when it is looked at with the development of the whole nation in mind,” Modi said.
“For the first time, the Railway Budget has emphasised the 21st century India, sought to strengthen its foundation through utilisation of science and technology in the coming days,” he said
“The system cannot remain ad-hoc. For each type of decision-making, a new vision, a new initiative and an institutional mechanism is very necessary. The Railway Budget emphasises this,” he added. Pointing out that it was normal for people to be enraged against corruption, Modi said the Budget presented by Gowda had given “credence to budget transparency and integrity.”
Noting that Railways’ need in the country has grown manifold over the years, Modi said this increased the need for passenger safety and better services for them. “Railways is not just a means of transport for the people, it is the growth engine of India. A Railway Budget focusing on the nation’s development has been presented. Such a Budget is better late than never,” he added.
On behalf of the BJP, its chief Rajnath Singh said the Railway Budget was full of innovative ideas and it was definitely “a positive start” for the nation.
“The Rail Budget is remarkable in many ways, as it is full of innovative ideas. The Railway Minister deserves credit for it. The Rail Budget sets safety, hygiene and speed as priority areas, which is definitely a positive start. I am confident that this rail Budget will put the Indian Railways back on the fast track of development and expansion,” he added.