- Mar 05 2016
Railways preparing new national development plan, says Suresh Prabhu
New Delhi, March 4: Indian Railways are all set to undergo a major transformation with the preparation and implementation of a National Plan for Railway Development, said Mr. Suresh Prabhu, the Union Railways Minister.
Speaking at the three-day Raisina Dialogue, organised by Observer Research Foundation in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Railway Minister said that the National Plan for Railway, announced recently in the Rail Budget, would work out a comprehensive plan to integrate the rail sector with other modes of transport. The Minister said the work has already been started.
The Minister also said that the government would go all out to make sure that the goal of delivering high class rail services to the country’s population is achieved in totality.
As many as seven million people in India travel by rail every year. The Minister acknowledged that provision of good class services would depend upon attending to various social, economic, and infrastructure concerns.
To cater to the requirements of passengers, several steps are already underway, said the Minister, such as expansion of network, revamp of organisational structure, tapping new sources of revenue, maximising use of ICT, ensuring transparency in award of project contracts, and introduction of bar coded tickets. The attempt in this endeavour is to make the rail sector passenger friendly, market oriented, efficient and modern.
Reference was also made to the development of a high speed rail network with Japanese assistance. For this purpose, there will be a 50 year loan credit with an interest rate of 0.1 per cent.
On mobilisation of funds, the Union Minister said that besides the budgetary allocations, extra budgetary resources and private investment would have to tapped to meet the investment requirements for the development of the railways sector. To facilitate this endeavour, the institution of Railway Development Authority has been created to balance interest of all stakeholders and ensure growth of railways, said the Minister.
For strengthening rail connectivity in the south Asian region, so that there is seamless movement of passenger and goods, the Minister said India is in discussion with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to explore ways in which the region could be connected.
The Union Minister said that India has launched a series of initiatives, many of which, such as the Digital India and Clean India, are important for the development of the railway sector. However, in this effort, the cooperation of service users would be required, cautioned the Minister.