Saturday, November 28, 2015

NEW DELHI: Modernisation of Indian Railways that is under way can boost the country's GDP by 2.5-3 per cent over a period of time, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said today.

"Railways itself in my opinion could contribute to 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent of GDP over a period of time and that will happen," Prabbu said at a function.

Enlisting steps the government is taking for the sector's growth, he said that in the last six months, the ministry has implemented as many as 103 of Budget announcements.

"Each and every Budget announcement is monitored electronically through E-Samiksha on weekly basis," he said, adding "we are doing lot of things. Whatever we said in the Budget, we are implementing like improving customer services".

He also said that all the projects are awarded in a transparent manner and "not a single rupee tender comes to the minister".

All the commercial nature decisions are taken at professional level and the ministry has delegated most of the power to general managers, he added.

"In the coming years, substantial change will happen in the sector," Prabhu said.

The ministry has worked on improving the customer services such as quality of food and ticketing system.

"Over the time, we will change the interiors of trains, which itself will bring change in customer service. All this is happening," the minister said.

About financing of projects, he said resources have been raised for the purpose.

"We already got money at cheap rate from the LIC which is just above the G-Sec (government security) rate paid in 30 yrs. This is the biggest financial deal in the country between two organisations - LIC and railway. Money is not a challenge," he said.

Indian Railways' capital expenditure programme for this year will also put in the money, he added.

Talking about 'Make in India' initiative, the minister said things are happening on the ground and the programme will change the profile of the country's GDP.

"Our GDP will grow because we are focusing on manufacturing. Manufacturing will pull up services and agri (sector growth)...'Make in India' can change the profile of Indian economy. It takes time, but to take that change happen, and till the time change is happening, we must believe in ourselves, believe in our own programme," he said.

Without increasing manufacturing sector's share in the country's GDP, it would be difficult to create jobs, he said adding government is taking several steps to boost the sector by improving ease of doing business and reduce red tapism.

"There were challenges in the economy, there was current account deficit, fiscal deficit, there was a rolling deficit which is still there and there was a low business confidence internationally and domestically and that has changed substantially in the last few years. Several initiatives have been taken by the government," he added.


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