Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Adressing the inaugral session of the Rail Vikas Shivir at Surajkund near New Delhi via videoconferencing on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that we have to work together and think about making the Indian Railways financially strong.
Modi also articulated that this being a technology driven century, innovation is essential. Railways has to be about both 'Gati' and 'Pragati', he added.
He also mentioned that the focus of his government's Rail Budgets has never been politics.
Amid efforts to introduce high speed trains, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Indian Railways should transform with the change of the century and focus on "new speeds, progress and new capacity" along with gaining financial strength.
Modi, whose government has decided to scrap the 92-year- old practice of presenting a separate Railway Budget, also asserted that the annual ritual was never an exercise of "political agenda" for him and that he had taken the "courageous" decision of keeping himself "free from the love for political gains (from railways)".
The Prime Minister, who is stated to have sold tea at railway stations in his childhood, said he had special affection for the railways considering that he had spent so much of his early days at railway platforms and had seen the largest public transporter from close quarters.
"The century has changed, so the railways should also change. There should be new speed, progress and new capacity," he said addressing railway employees via video conferencing at the 'Rail Vikas Shivir' (rail development camp) being held in Surajkund on the outskirts of Delhi. He will be visiting the camp on Sunday, the concluding day of the event.
Noting that the current century is technology driven, Modi pitched for innovation to make the railways strong.
His comments came against the backdrop of efforts to introduce high speed trains in the country, for which technology and monetary assistance is being taken from Japan whose bullet train is world class. The first high speed corridor is to be built between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, construction for which will begin in 2018.
Modi underlined the need for making the railways financially strong, which he said would bring benefits for the country and particularly those working for the transporter.
He expressed confidence in the railway workforce but emphasised that they should work together and think about the railways can be strengthened.
Referring to the Railway Budget whose separate presentation has been scrapped now, the Prime Minister said it used to be an exercise focussed on ensuring which MP got which train and who got stoppages.
"There used to clapping on such announcements (in Parliament). When I took over, I noticed that 1500 announcements (regarding railways) had been made previously which had remained confined only to clapping," he said.
"I could have done the same thing and collected claps and praise. But I remained "free from the love for political gains. I showed courage," Modi said, while asserting that he has "no political agenda" to pursue through the railways.
Departing from the earlier practice, the Modi government in the last two Railway Budgets has not announced launch of any new train. expressed that though each official doing his or her own work is good but we also have to work together and think about how we want the Railways to be.
My links with the Railways is strong since my childhood was spent on rail platforms and that is all the more reason I want to transform railways, said Modi.
The aim of the Shivir is to generate numerous innovative ideas across most critical areas of the railway operations for substantial progress of this sector.Such brainstorming and large-scale planning involving all railway employees is taking place for the first time in the 163-year-long history of the Indian Railways.
The Railway Ministry said the outcome of this camp would lead to rapid rejuvenation, transformation, modernisation, efficiency and productivity.
(With PTI inputs)