PM applauds "forward looking" rail budget
New Delhi, Feb 24: Declaring that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has placed the Indian Railways back on the rails once again, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the ''forward looking'' Railway Budget for 2006-07 would accelerate growth and facilitate modernisation.
The financial position of the Railways ''has improved never before as it has in the last two years,'' Dr Singh said and congratulated Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and all the employees of the ''premier national enterprise of which all of us can be really proud''.
Talking to reporters after Mr Prasad presented his third successive Railway Budget, the Prime Minister said the government would raise resources for the Rs 22,000 crore new rail 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.
Asked about the reservations of the Left on some provisions, he said the government ''is amenable to be convinced'' by all members who had suggestions to make.
''All concerns of all honourable members will be addressed.'' Dr Singh said the UPA government had taken up a number of railway projects to improve amenities and facilities for the passengers.
Mr Yadav 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.