Clearing the air over the privatisation of Indian Railways, which has been opposed by several leaders, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said that the national transporter will not be privatised and it will always remain with the government. He also stressed the need for private investment for its more efficient functioning.
Speaking on the Demand for Grants of Ministry of Railways 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha, Goyal said: “It is our endeavour that Indian Railways has become the engine for the country’s future growth.”
He said whether it is economy, convenience of passengers, or any other area, the government is listening to the demands of everyone with sensitivity and understanding their requirements.
The Minister said that many of the leaders and MPs have alleged that we are corporatising Indian Railways and we are doing disinvestment in the national transporter.
“I want to clarify that Indian Railways will not be privatised and it will remain with the government. It is the property of the Indian government,” Goyal said.
The Minister then said that roads are also the property of the government but does anyone say that only government vehicles will run on the roads.
“Should not the railway line be tried? When it comes to private investment, it should be welcomed,” he said, adding that government and private vehicles should also run on the railway tracks to provide more services and better freight services.
Goyal said that the country can progress towards high growth and create more employment opportunities only when the public and private sectors work together.
The Union Minister’s remarks come in the wake of the two-day strike by lakhs of employees of banks over the privatisation of two national banks.
Goyal said that to make the Indian Railways future ready, a national rail plan 2030 has been made.
He said that the railways has put 68 projects in the critical category while 58 projects have been put in the second phase of critical category.
Goyal said the Modi government has hiked investment in railways to Rs 2.15 lakh crore in 2021-22 fiscal, from Rs 1.5 lakh crore in 2019-20 fiscal.
“We are focusing on passenger safety. I am happy to say that there has been no passenger death in the past two years. The last death due to train accident happened in March 2019,” the minister said.
Goyal slammed the previous government for making hollow announcements without the implementation of any project to improve the infrastructure.