New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Thursday outlined four goals for improvement in the Indian Railways over the next five years.
The goals are: giving a huge boost to customer experience, ensuring safer travel, modernisation of infrastructure and making Indian Railways financially self-sustainable, the minister said while presenting his maiden budget in the Lok Sabha.
"To deliver a sustained and measurable improvement in customer experience, the Indian Railways is launching initiatives that will systematically address customer concerns about cleanliness, comfort, accessibility, service quality and speed of trains," the minister said.
Prabhu stressed that making rail a safer means of travel was of prime importance to the government“.
"To expand Bhartiya Rail's capacity substantially and to modernise infrastructure... Given the importance of rail travel for the citizens, Indian Railways will increase daily passenger-carrying capacity from 21 million to 30 million," he said.
"It will also increase track length by 20 percent from 1,14,000 km to 1,38,000 km, and will grow its annual freight carrying capacity from 1 billion to 1.5 billion tonnes."
Prabhu mentioned during his speech that it is extremely important for Indian Railways to become financially self-sustainable.
"To make Bhartiya Rail financially self-sustainable, the Indian Railways will generate large surpluses from its operations not only to service the debt needed to fund capacity expansion, but also to invest on an ongoing basis to replace its depreciating assets," he said.
Further, he added: "This will require material improvement in operating efficiency, tighter control over costs, greater discipline over project selection and execution, and a significant boost to Railways' revenue generating capacity."
The minister said these goals will also ensure that Railways is an integral part of all the flagship programmes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched for improving the quality of life of the downtrodden, from 'Swachh Bharat' to 'Make in India', and from 'Digital India‘ to 'Skill India'.