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Govt open to changes in Railway Budget: PM

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) Describing the Railway Budget as ''forward looking,'' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government is, however, open to changes in it following concerns expressed by the Left and other parties.

''We are amenable to be convinced'' by members who had suggestions to make. ''The concerns of all honourable members will be addressed,'' Dr Singh told reporters shortly after Railway Minister Lalu Prasad presented his third consecutive Budget.

Asserting that the Railway Budget would accelerate growth and facilitate modernisation, he said the financial position of the Railways ''has improved never before as it has in the last two years'' and congratulated Mr Prasad and all the employees of the ''premier national enterprise of which all of us can be really proud''.

Dr Singh said the government would raise resources for the Rs 22,000 crore new freight corridor from the market as well as through internal resources.

Further, the government would also ''pose this project for Japanese assistance,'' he said pointing out that the project had already been cleared by the Cabinet.

Dr Singh said the UPA government had taken up a number of railway projects to improve amenities and facilities for the passengers.

Mr Prasad also pointed out at the beginning of his Budget presentation that the UPA government had turned the railways around as the fund balances had grown to Rs 11,000 crore from a mere Rs 350 crore in 2001.

''You might term this a miracle, but I was confident'' of achieving this, he said.

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