Indian Railways will never be privatised: Goyal in Lok Sabha
He said the country can progress towards high growth and create more employment opportunities only when the public and private sectors work together
The Railways will never be privatised but private investments are required for efficient functioning, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday during a debate on the Demands for Grants for Railways for 2021-22.
The motion to provide grants was passed by a voice vote after the Lower House debated it over two days.
Replying to the discussion, Mr. Goyal said there has been no death of any passenger in rail accidents in the past two years and emphasised that Indian Rail has been focussed on improving passenger safety.
On Monday, Opposition members including Congress’ Jasbir Singh Gill and IUML’s ET Mohammed Basheer had questioned the government over its privatisation and corporatisation plans.
Mr. Goyal said, “I assure you that the Railways is India’s property and it will be never privatised. It is a property of every Indian and will remain so.”
He said investment from the private sector can be utilised to leverage the infrastructure to provide better amenities to passengers and create more employment opportunities.
He said 5,500 km track is going to be privatised this year and spelt out the government’s target of complete electrification by December 2023. To that goal, Mr. Goyal said, the Narendra Modi government has hiked the investment to 2.15 lakh crore in 2021-22 fiscal from ₹1.5 lakh crore last fiscal year.
Saying the government is working towards making the Railways as an “engine of growth,” Mr. Goyal also sought the cooperation of the State governments for land acquisition for faster implementation of projects.
“If Maharashtra gives support and makes available land in Bandra Kurla for terminal then high-speed bullet train using Japanese technology will come into India. Today 95% land has been acquired in Gujarat and land has also been acquired in Daman and Diu. However, in Maharashtra we have acquired 24%. If we can acquire land in Maharashtra, then we can implement the project at a faster pace.”