New Delhi, Nov 30: The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2007, with Railway Minister Lalu Prasad vowing that his next Budget will be better than all his previous Budgets, catering to the needs of the commonman and underdeveloped areas.Replying to the debate on the subject, Mr Prasad left no stone unturned to establish that the Railways were geared to meeting the needs of the man on the street, especially the underprivileged.
He explained that additional demands of monies he was making were necessary to meet the needs of the ambitious programmes that have been outlined.
The three previous budgets of Mr Prasad have been popular with the public as he did not raise the fares, provided more trains and coaches and improved the amenities, notwithstanding the enormous demands of modernisation of the Railways and growing traffic needs.
Mr Prasad said priority would be given to complete the ongoing projects and that the demands for projects made by the members would be met without consideration to which ever party they belonged.
The Reply of the Minister was characteristic of his style--full of rustic jokes and remarks and often diverting from the points under consideration. This repeatedly met with peels of laughter from the members.
It won the charismatic Minister accolades of the members with even MPs from the Opposition benches thumping their tables.
Mr Prasad explained how the welfare of the Railway employees was top most on his mind who have been given 70 days bonus.
The Minister outlined programmes underway to multiply manufacturing of coaches, easing congestion on busy routes, attempts to divert road traffic to Railways and how the Eastern and Western Corridors would change the freight scenario.
Mr Prasad spoke eloquently of how the once loss making Railways had been converted into a surplus, which got him the admiration of management experts in India and abroad.
The Bill will enable authorisation of payments and sums from the Consolidated Fund of India for the purpose of the services rendered by the Railways.