The Indian Railways will require about Rs 50 lakh crores in the next 12 years to meet the demands of new lines, better services and quality of services, said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal at the Rajya Sabha said today.
The Minister also said that they are not privatising Indian Railways but are outsourcing some of the services.
"As per our estimate, the Railways requires about Rs 50 lakh crores in the next 12 years and providing this amount is not going to be a possibility for the government at all. We have budgetary constraints," Mr Goyal said.
He said: "Despite that, the ministry have almost two-and-a-half times more investment in the Railways in the last five years".
"You can feel a significant change at many fronts like cleanliness, quality of rakes, service, etc. So, if you want to meet the passenger rush, new facilities will be required and a large quantity of new rakes will be required," he said.
The minister said he believes that if private parties invest and run the things on existing system despite the condition that these all will continued to be owned by the Indian Railways then it is something which will benefit consumers and passengers.
"Our intention is to give better services and benefits; not to privatise the Indian Railways. Indian Railways is and will always be the property of India and the people of India. At best, new facilities, new services and serving better quality is the intention of the government," said the Minister replying to a query about the privatisation of the largest transporter.
Congress leader KVP Ramachandra Rao had asked in the House that whether the government is thinking to privatise a set of services of railways on selected routes.
"If the idea is implemented, this will definitely affect prospects of the existing railway employees. What safeguards that the government is proposing to take in this regard," Rao questioned.
To this, Minister of State Railways Suresh Angadi Channabasappa said that the interest of railway employees is protected.
"There is no problem for the existing railway employees due to privatisation. And, we are not going for the privatisation; it is only corporatisation to improve railway services to passengers," he said.
Channabasappa explained that the land, stations, tracks, including the locomotives, are with the Indian Railways. He said that only commercial and onboard services can be given to the private players and there will not be any impact on the existing employment.
Another Congress member Ambika Soni questioned the House whether differently-abled people figure in expansion plan of the railway?
To this, Channabasappa said that if one compare the conditions of the railway stations that earlier used to be and now, what it is today, there is a sea of changes. There are same employees. But only mindset has been changed.
He, however, confessed that there are problems for differently-abled people but ensured that these issues will be duly taken care of in future.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)