Opposition parties on Tuesday slammed Narendra Modi government’s maiden rail budget, variously describing it as “illogical” and “disappointing” after claiming it had overlooked large parts of the country.
Criticising FDI in infrastructure projects in the railway budget, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged it was an attempt to sell out the country, while claiming that the exercise had ‘neglected and humiliated’ her state.
Modi govt has neglected Bengal: Mamata
“So many bluffs have been given before the elections. Why they did not tell the people earlier of bringing FDI in defence and railways. Why now after the elections?” she told a government programme here in Hooghly district.
Alleging a vindictive attitude toward West Bengal, Banerjee said “It has been neglected and humiliated by the new government. “Only one weekly express train has been given for Bengal. I ask that it be withdrawn. We are not beggars. We fight for our rights. We do not compromise,” she said.
Budget not in harmony with what govt said: BJD
Biju Janta Dal (BJD) termed the budget, which was presented in Parliament by Rail Minister Sadananda Gowda, “quite shocking” and “illogical” as it complained that no emphasis had been made in it for the areas that generated more revenue from freight.
“The budget is illogical as far as Odisha is concerned. The logic has to be explained. The government says priority would be given to those areas which have been neglected… It gets Rs 14,000 crore from freight services from Odisha and large parts of the state do not have rail connectivity,” said BJD MP Baijayant Panda.
“The budget is not in harmony with what the government had earlier said about neglected regions being given more focus,” he added.
Many regions left out: JD(U)
JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, too, criticised the budget, saying it had left out large parts of the country’s geography.
“There was no reference to Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Odisha, Kerala, Telangana and Seemandhra. These are the parts where a large chunk of the population resides. Also, all pending projects should have been completed first,” said Yadav.
Asked about the announcement of big ticket projects like the bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, he added. “Projects are concentrated only around four-five cities. The budget should look at everyone from the same point of view.”
Govt should have brought down fares: Mayawati
BSP chief Mayawati for her part said that her party had hoped the government would make an announcement bringing down fares in view of the inflation.
“The government had initially said that the decision to increase the fare was of the (previous) UPA government. So, the new government should have brought down the fares and freight rates considering the rising prices.
“The budget also speaks of privatisation and of bringing in private investment but, while doing so, there should be reservation for people belonging to the SC and ST communities,” said the former UP Chief Minister.
Chavan says Rail Budget disappointing
Congress MP and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that the budget was “disappointing”.
“There have been a few announcements for Mumbai, otherwise the budget has been extremely disappointing. Marathwada, Vidharba and Konkan regions have got nothing. The government had said ‘good days will come’, but Maharashtra has been completely forgotten,” said Chavan.
Jaya welcomes Rail budget
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa described the budget as “fiscally responsible and bold” but urged the Centre to spare common man of the ‘previous government’s policy of fuel price linked fare increases.’
“I commend the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Railway Minister (Sadananda gowda) for having practiced transparency in placing before the country the true status of the Indian Railways. Their approach is fiscally responsible and very bold,” she said.
“However, I request the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister to spare the common people from the burden of further fare increases by not following the previous Government’s policy of fuel price linked fare increases,” she said.
Venkaiah Naidu calls Rail Budget realistic
Hailing the Railway Budget, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it is “realistic and comprehensive” as honest analysis had been made about the state of affairs and health of Indian railways.
“The way forward has been clearly outlined in the Budget. Safety, security and service…all these three aspects have been taken care of and the Railway Minister has also made a realistic assessment about the need to complete the ongoing projects,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament House.
“So this government has taken up that responsibility of completing all ongoing projects on priority,” the Minister said.
The Minister also alleged that the opposition was trying to “politicise and trivialise” the budget.
Budget aims to improve financial condition: Ravi Shankar
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Rail Budget aims to improve the financial condition of the railways, secure rail tracks, ensure more amenities for passengers and strengthen the overall infrastructure.
“It’s the budget for the revival of railways. It is a budget for future vision and for restoring the health of the railways,” Prasad told reporters.
(With PTI inputs)