Dismissing Opposition charge that Railway Budget has nothing for poor, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the centre of his budget is common man and he is working on a three-pronged strategy to improve the financial health of the public transporter.
The Minister, while replying to discussion on Railway Budget said a mechanism would be put in place to revise passenger fares and freight charges.
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Among other things the Minister said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train would be built under the self-financing mode and would significantly helping upgrading the technology in the Railways.
“The Rail Budget has everything for common man…Common man is the centre of the budget,” he said. The initiatives intended to benefit the common man include e-ticketing, catering on demand, bio-toilets, food for infants, better stations etc,” the Minister added.
Moreover, the weaker sections including members of SC and ST would be given preference while awarding contracts for setting up stalls at railway stations.
The Lower House later passed the appropriation bills and the demands for grants in connection with the Railway budget for 2016-17, after a debate that witnessed participation of over 100 members.
Observing that “railways have been going through challenging times…(and) a real crisis accumulated over the years”, Prabhu said his three-pronged strategy, which would include an austerity drive, would help in “significantly” improving the financial health of the Railways and make it a “precious asset of the nation”.
The strategy to revive the railways include augmentation of services, generation of more revenue and optimisation of cost.
Elaborating on the strategy, the Minister said he proposed to launch an “austerity drive” to reduce administrative expenses.