The government is not privatising the Indian Railways and is only outsourcing commercial and on-board services to private players in order to provide better facilities to commuters, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Responding to a series of queries during Question Hour, Goyal said, “Our intention is to give better services and benefits and not to privatise the Indian Railways. The Indian Railways is and always continues to be the property of India and the people of India.
“Every day, members come with a new demand for lines and better services. It is not going to be a possibility for the Government of India to provide Rs 50 lakh crore for the next 12 years. We all know that,” he said, pointing to budgetary constraints and other real issues.
Noting that thousands of new trains and more investment are required for providing new facilities and meet the passengers rush, Goyal said: “If there are private players willing to invest and come and run on the existing system, which continues to be always owned by the Indian Railways, the consumers and passengers will benefit.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi maintained that the government is corporatising the railways and not privatising it. He said, “We are outsourcing only the commercial and on-board services… We are giving only licenses. They are bringing in new rates.”
On services to disabled passengers and women at railway stations, Angadi said safety and cleanliness have always been the priority of the government and it would take care if they are lapses in some stations.
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