Not privatising Railways;only outsourcing some services:Govt

NEW DELHI, Nov 22: The Government is not privatising
the Indian Railways but only outsourcing commercial and
on-board services to private players in order to provide
better facilities to commuters, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal
said in Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Responding to a series of queries during Question Hour,
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said such a step has been taken
as it is not possible for the government to meet the fund
requirement of Rs 50 lakh crore estimated for the next 12
years to operate Railways.
“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 people
of India,” Goyal assured in the Upper House.
As per the government’s estimate, the Indian Railways
require about Rs 50 lakh crore in the next 12 years.
“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, adding there are
budgetary constraints and other real issues.
Noting that thousands of new trains and more investment
are required for providing new facilities/rakes 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.”
Maintaining that the government is corporatising railways
not privatising it, Minister of State for Railways Suresh
Angadi said, “We are outsourcing only the commercial and on-
board services to private players. Ownership will be with
railways. We are giving only licenses. They are bringing in
new rates.”
He said existing employees of the Indian Railways will
not be affected. Private players will provide better services
and create additional employment opportunities.
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.
He said all railways stations have a separate resting
room for women and police help is also being provided.
Responding to a query whether railways will continue
to look into complaints of passengers about on-board services
provided by private players, the minister said, “A valid point
has been made. If there are any problems, the Railway
authority will be there to address.” (PTI)