PM flags-off Katra-Udhampur rail link, privatisation on cards

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
By putting Katra on the railway map of India, Modi has begun his journey to improvise the railways connectivity in the country. In his bid to make Indian Railwyas world class Modi had earlier said that the private parties will play a major role in doing so.

While inaugurating the Udhampur-Katra rail link Modi said, "We want the railway stations to have better facilities than airports. This is our dream and it is not a difficult thing to do and this is economically viable too. I have discussed it in detail with my Railway friends. You will see a change in near future.

"In that, private parties would also be ready to invest because this is a good project economically and will benefit everyone. This would be a win-win situation project and we want to move ahead in this direction in the coming days," he said.

Privatisation of Indian Railways Modi Sarkar’s agenda

Modi has consistently been pitching for development of railway infrastructure and fuel growth. Indian railway system, which is third largest rail network in the world, is cash strapped and needs funds to get back on the track. The cash strapped rail network in India is already facing a loss of nearly Rs 900 crore per month and thus, needed immediate attention. And for that Modi Government has already made a pre-budget decision by hiking the passenger and freight fares which will give the Indian Railways an additional revenue of Rs 8000 crore annually.

As this hike was the steepest in last one decade to improvise the ailing railways, the Government cannot increase these fares in the near future as it will raise the angst in public. But to bring railways back on track, more and more funds are needed and introduction of private players in this sector could be a positive move in this direction.

More participation of private bodies can potentially overshadow most other sources of financing, and can catapult our railways to a truly competitive position in the world. Participation of private players in the areas also goes with the mantra of ‘minimum Government, maximum governance' which has always been advocated by the Prime Minister.

Not to forget the 10 per cent of its capital which railways spend in hospitals and schools of its employees, including the private parties will also help in easing ease some burden from the Government's shoulders.

Moreover, commercialisation of Railways land for developing shopping complexes and utilising the interiors and exteriors of rail coaches for advertisements would also help the railways to generate some extra revenue.

In yet another move to boost railway's revenue receipts, Gowda, in his maiden budget, might also to announce 100 per cent FDI in railways and a more investor-friendly PPP model.

More burden can be removed by entrusting the responsibility of maintenance and development of railway platforms to the Private firms. This would not only help in improving the condition of platforms but will also take away the financial burden from the Government.

In yet another move to boost railway's revenue receipts, the railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, in his maiden budget, is expected to announce 100 per cent FDI in railways and a more investor-friendly PPP model.

With the railway budget just being four days away, there will be many speculations and the expectations of the public will keep on increasing. But the actual picture will be clear on the D-day on how the new government lives up to people's expectations.

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