President PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Mahesh Gupta, has described the Railway Budget 2016-17 a pragmatic one which has well-defined strategies and stresses on modernization, employment generation, freight movement, socio-economic welfare and private participation.
“The employment focus of the budget is highly encouraging as Railways shall generate 23 crore many days by 2018-19 of which 9 crore man-days are envisaged in FY17-18 and 14 crore in FY18-19”, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta.
The formulation of three pillars of strategies viz. new sources of revenues, new norms and new structures shows the government’s commitment towards modernization and expansion of the system, said Dr, Mahesh Gupta.
Allocation of 8.5 lakh crore to be spent on modernization of railways in the next 5 years is highly appreciable, said Dr. Gupta. Introduction of very modern train systems called train sets is highly encouraging as these will provide state of the art infrastructure to the people, he added.
Further, plans to set up lifts and escalators at major stations, preparation of 5-year corporate safety plan, modern track structures, paperless working in material management are encouraging.
These along with digitized mapping of land records of railways, introduction of SMART Coaches and on-board services such as entertainment, local cuisines, Wi-Fi etc will facilitate modernization of the Railways in the coming times, said Dr. Gupta.
Dr. Gupta appreciated Rail Minister’s remarks and re-asserted that every rupee of investment in Railways has the capacity to increase economy-wide output by Rs. 5. The increased investment in Railways will contribute to further economic growth of the country, said Dr. Gupta.
No hike in Railway Passenger Fares is good as the economy was facing severe inflation during the last many years and will be good respite to the common man, added Dr. Mahesh Gupta.
The creation of Joint Ventures with State Governments for undertaking rail based projects is a historic decision and will open up new avenues for sharing the ownership of Railways, enhance management bandwidth for project execution, strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism and enable States to jointly decide their priorities for development of backward regions, he said.
The announcement of 44 new projects and setting up of 2 locomotive factories under the Make in India initiative of the government is inspiring as these initiatives will attract more investments in the economy, he said.
The redevelopment of 400 stations through PPP will spur private investments in the economy which is the need of the hour, said. Dr. Gupta.
The announcement of three new train services- Humsafar, Tejas and UDAY for the reserved passengers will add to the glory of the Indian Railways in the coming times, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta.
The rail budget 2016-17 rightly focuses on socio-economic upliftment of masses as the introduction of Antyodya Express and addition of coaches in Deen Dayalu for unreserved travel rightly asserts it, he said.
The expansion of Vikalp Scheme to provide choice of accommodation in specific trains to wait-listed passengers and measures to improve the cleanliness on stations and trains show government’s commitment towards welfare of passengers, said Dr. Gupta.
The expansion of freight basket, tariff rationalization for the freight and building terminal capacity will ensure timely supply of goods and services in the economy, said Dr. Mahesh Gupta. The expansion of connectivity to ports would also facilitate ease of doing business as better connectivity to ports connectivity is a major issue faced by businesses and exporters, he added.
North-East by bringing in broad-gauge network in certain North-eastern states will help in improving their connectivity in the country, thus leading to growth of services sectors such as tourism in these states, he said.
The Rail Budget focuses on women safety as the budget proposes reserved middle bays in coaches along with all India helpline numbers and CCTV surveillance at 311 stations, said Dr, Mahesh Gupta.