The railway minister said that in his first budget, Rs 8.5 lakh crore were earmarked to be invested in the railways in the next five years.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday voiced confidence that railways would help push India’s GDP by 2.5% in the coming years, asserting that Narendra Modi government was especially focusing on research and development works so that the transporter acts as a growth engine.
Earlier, little effort was made in the field of research and development in the railways. However, the NDA government has signed agreements with 14 countries including Japan and Korea to undertake research and development works, the minister said at a function at Jammu railway station.
“In the coming years the railway will contribute 2.5% to the GDP growth in the country,” Prabhu said. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley helped revive the economy of the country.
“One-and-a-half years ago the economic situation of the country was in a mess and the world had lost faith and was not ready to invest in the country. Economy was in shambles, inflation was high, growth was down, but after Narendra Modi took over, he brought the country out of the economic mess,” he said.
“The world is now looking forward to invest in our country. We need investment from other countries to not only build infrastructure but also to help eradicate poverty. Foreign investment in China helped eradicate its poverty,” he said.
He said that the growth of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has surpassed the growth of China. “After Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister, India has surpassed the growth of China. In our country, foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased as compared to China,” Prabhu said.
The Minister said that the country needs to invest in infrastructure for a higher growth rate. “If we need infrastructure we need to invest in railways as the PM has rightly said that railway is an engine of growth,” he said, adding Modi “was the first Prime Minister in the country who had a vision for the development of the railways”.
The railway minister said that in his first budget, Rs 8.5 lakh crore were earmarked to be invested in the railways in the next five years. “We have fulfilled 110 points that we had mentioned in the railway budget and the work is on to fulfill the others”, he said.
He said that e-catering was introduced to improve the quality of food being served onboard the trains.
The Indian government has signed an MoU with Japan so as to improve the safety standards of the Indian railway. “We have signed the MoU with Japan to make our safety standards on a par with theirs,” he said.