Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that railway modernisation projects, such as bullet trains, electronic signalling systems and speed corridors will not only ease lives but will also create jobs by increasing connectivity and infrastructure.
Speaking at the India TV Budget Samvaad, the railway minister heaped praises on the Union Budget 2018-19, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday. "Today, the Centre is making all efforts to improve the quality of travelling by bringing in major reforms in Railways," he said.
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Goyal, who resumed the railway office during the mid-term reshuffle last year, claimed that Modi govt is paying attention towards the safety of passengers. "In my first meeting after resuming office, we discussed the safety of passengers, which has never been an agenda before. Whatever facilities we have in the name of Railways will be used for the safety of the passengers, we decided," he said.
"We are looking at improving the tracks, signalling system and unmanned crossings among other issues to eliminate accidents," the railway minister added.
Taking a jibe at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for rejecting bullet trains as anti-poor, the railway minister said that it is for people to choose if the modernisation of the railway is in their favour or not.
"Is Rahul Gandhi worried he will be ousted from Congress chief post after one year," Goyal quipped on Gandhi's 'ek saal aur' jibe on budget 2018.
Piyush Goyal claimed that India is well on the path of development 'as was proven in Davos summit'. Other countries in the world today want to invest in India, this shows the economic graph of the country, he said. The minister said that this economic growth will automatically generate more jobs
Praising the triple allocation of capital expenditure in railway budget, Goyal said that the ministry had enough funds and is using it for the development of various sectors of the society.
The railway minister shared that soon all railway payments will go digital. "We are working to enable each ticket checker with a PoS machine so that no point of payment has to accept cash," he informed.
Furthermore, he said, discussions were underway to install CCTV on each passenger train and railway station to ensure the safety of women.
The minister also informed that he has directed the ministry to ensure clean toilets for men and women at every railway station by the end of the year 2018. "We are trying to rope in private companies through CSR for maintenance of these toilets so that they remain suable," he said.
Goyal also acknowledged the serious garbage piling issue near Mumbai railway tracks and said that the concerned departments are looking for ways to resolve the issue.
On the question of missing a separate railway budget, the railway minister claimed that while a separate railway budget might have been relevant decades ago, today it was nothing more than a political statement. The minister said that merging the two budgets has done away with the need of starting new trains and new schemes, the ministry could not manage. "The lesser we come in the public glare, the better it is," he said.