Railway budget smacks of privatisation: Opposition
The Congress and the Left parties termed the Railway budget “pro-privatisation” even as the Trinamool Congress took to agitation in the Lok Sabha to press for a “rollback.” Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda’s predecessor Mallikarjun Kharge described it as “a PPP budget, an FDI budget with no government support.”
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the budget lacked vision, ignored party-ruled States and that promises made by the Railway Minister would remain unfulfilled.
Presenting the party’s official response, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Railway Budget neither outlined any “future road map” nor did it provide “any long term perspective” for the railway sector.
Mr. Chowdhury said it attacked the achievements of the previous government. “If you go through the budget, you will see that in each and every step the social obligation of a government has been criticised as if we have committed wrong in following the social obligation… This government is heading towards more and more privatisation of the railway sector,” he added.
Describing the first Railway budget of the Modi Government as a “cosmetic exercise, high on rhetoric and low on substance,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the “high-sounding bullet trains and commercial freight corridors” had no budgetary calculations to back them up.
The CPI said the budget lacked “vision and clarity.”
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati slammed the government for proposing privatisation and FDI in Railways without providing for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes reservation. She sought a policy on this. “The budget proposals bring no relief from the recently hiked rail and freight fares. It is okay to run high-speed and bullet trains but this budget is disappointing for common passengers,” she said.
Seeking wide-spread consultations on allowing FDI in Railways, the Aam Aadmi Party said the Railway Budget was a “missed opportunity” in spelling out a vision on improving the health of the Railways.