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The Aam Aadmi Party termed the first rail budget of the Narendra Modi Sarkar as “a missed opportunity”

By on July 8, 2014

The Aam Aadmi Party termed the first rail budget of the Narendra Modi Sarkar as “a missed opportunity”.

“Rail budget turned out to be a missed opportunity. The new govt has failed to spell out its road-map for improvement of railways. Rail budget lacks direction and suffers from regional imbalance. NDA govt cud have used its maiden rail budget to spell out its long term vision for improvement of railways,but it is unfortunately missing,” Aam Aadmi Party said.

The AAP statement said that NDA government budget is not able to live up to people’s expectations.

“The people of the county had expected that the new government to lay down its road-map to improve the efficiency of the railways by curbing the price distortion and corruption, two major problems currently plaguing this critical sector, but the budget appears to be silent on addressing these long term concerns and belies expectations of a long term vision,” the statement said.

The statement said that Narendra Modi Sarkar is not serious to fill up the vacant jobs.

“There is nothing concrete in this budget on the improvement of safety and maintenance of the massive railway network across the country. Nearly 2.5 lakh posts are lying vacant in railways and out of these 1.6 lakh are in departments directly concerned with railways safety, but nothing has been done to fill up these posts,” AAP said.

The Government should focus on ‘Aam Aadmi’ who forms the bulk of railway passenger traffic.

“The common man (aam aadmi) forms the bulk of railway passenger traffic, but the focus on such passengers is missing. The trend in the budget is to focus on the upper class of commuters, whose number is minuscule in terms of passenger traffic. Facilities should be provided to all categories of passengers, but focus on those who can spend more does not set a healthy trend,” the party said.

The party said it agreed with the Rail Minister on the large number of pending projects and that the focus should be on their execution.

“The railways minister has made an honest confession about the large number of pending projects. The AAP agrees with the government that the focus should be on execution of existing projects, but in this respect too, the minister did not mention any road-map on how the government plans to complete the job,” the AAP said.

The Aam Aadmi Party said that it did not oppose foreign direct investment in Railways and that implementing public-private partnership (PPP) model is a “dangerous trend”.

“The AAP, in principle, does not oppose Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways, but the minister’s announcement did not specify in which field does the NDA government propose to invite the FDI. The impression created is that the government is ready to go ahead with the FDI in all fields, except in operations. There are many sensitive sectors in Railways, like the one handling the spectrum that cannot be opened to foreign investors. The hurry to attract FDI in Railways could create a dangerous situation and the government should hold widespread consultations before going ahead with the introduction of FDI in railways,” the statement said.

“The thrust on implementing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in railways is a dangerous trend. The concept of PPP model so far in the country has been that the public sector bears the risk and the private sector walks away with profit, such a model can spell disaster for the railways,” AAP said.

“The AAP does not agree with the minister’s announcement about the proposal to restructure the Railway Board. It is one of the rare board/corporation in the government sector which is not controlled by the IAS officers, and is run by professionals. Unless the government clearly specifies what kind of restructuring it wants, the announcement appears to be an attempt to undermine the Board’s autonomy. Restructuring for improving the fiscal health of railways and bringing professionalism is welcome, but it cannot be allowed to become ministry Vs board fight,” the party said.

The Aam Aadmi Party also sees a regional imbalance in announcement of new train services. A government cannot ignore the requirements of one region appease the other.

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