Rail Budget 2015 reactions: BJP hails, Congress questions resource availability

Without tinkering with passenger fares, Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden budget for Indian Railways in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, promising to balance passenger needs and long-term interests of the organisation and benchmark it globally on quality, safety and reach.

Rail Budget 2015 reactions: BJP hails, Congress questions resource availability
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Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya 

Hailing the Rail Budget as "progressive and well thought out", Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said it would improve amenities and infrastructure without burning a hole in passengers' pockets. "This is a progressive and well thought out Rail Budget, without increasing the passenger fare. Moreover, there is an increase of 64 percent (in spending) on passenger amenities," he told reporters here.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Congratulating Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for presenting a balanced and growth-oriented Budget for 2015-16, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "By increasing investments to improve infrastructure and passenger amenities, the Rail Budget has pushed the Railways back on the right track". 

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

"The Railway Budget has some very fine ideas but no specifics. What is the revenue source for the reforms, there is no credible plan," Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said. "The gap between rhetoric and results is the biggest concern. There is no specific information on how the promises will be delivered. If there is no hike in fare, where will revenue come from?" he asked.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh described the Railway Budget as average, full of hollow promises and rather disappointing for the people of the hill state.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu

Terming the Railway budget as "realistic and pragmatic", Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rejected opposition criticism that it lacked substance and said NDA government has taken on its shoulders all the responsibility of implementing unfulfilled promises of earlier regimes.

Also Read: Rail Budget realistic, not populist: Naidu

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said there is nothing new in the Budget. It is just a normal Budget and that too, repetition of the old one, added Dasgupta.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi 

Rail Budget 2015 is very disappointing, said Gandhi, adding: "The government's Budget is the revamped version of old UPA's initiatives."

Also Read: Rail Budget very disappointing, says Sonia Gandhi

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis thanked PM Narendra Modi and Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for "reinvention and rebirth" of the Indian Railways by emphasising on technology-based modernisation. "Rail Budget 2015 is a progressive and an extremely practical Budget as it brings a lot of good news for the nation."

Congress leader M Veerappa Moily

Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily was critical of the Rail Budget, saying it was just a vision document. "There is no budget, it is only a vision document of 2013. Even the statement of accounts he said it is in the annexure. That should be the core theme of the budget. Then where is the budget. I think the budget has melted away in the aspiration of the minister," Moily said, adding that according to him the budget scores zero marks out of 10.

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav 

Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav praised the Railway Budget for its lack of populist measures like announcement of new trains and lauded Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for focusing on fulfilling projects unveiled in past budgets. "This is a good job. He (Prabhu) has not announced new schemes and promised that he will focus on executing past measures. If he succeeds in doing so, it will be a huge accomplishment," Yadav told reporters outside Parliament.

Shiv Sena

NDA constituent Shiv Sena said the Budget lacked clarity on how the money will come for the various projects. "We are completely dissatisfied with the budget. They have said so many things in the budget. But from where will the money come?," senior Shivsena leader and North-West Mumbai MP Gajanan Kirtikar said, adding the budget has kept everyone in "dark".

BJP president Amit Shah 

Congratulating PM Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Amit Shah said the Rail Budget has given great importance to passenger convenience and safety. 
Without increasing fares, the plan size has been increased to approximately 52 percent, Shah noted, adding that convenience of passengers has been kept in mind.

Also Read: Suresh Prabhu rules out privatisation, keeps passenger fares unchanged in Rail Budget 2015

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh

Rail Budget 2015 focuses on making railways clean, fast, hi-tech and modern, while considering the pocket of an ordinary man, said Chhattisgarh CM Dr Raman Singh.

Yoga guru Ramdev

On microblogging website Twitter, Baba Ramdev promised to extend support to Rail Minister Suresh Parbhu.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar

Expectation was that rail fares would be cut, but that didn't happen, said Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. 

Also Read: Railway Budget full of lofty ideas but no action plan: Nitish Kumar

Also Read: Rail Budget 2015 Highlights

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel thanked the Railway Minister for expediting Ahmedabad-Mumbai ‘hi-speed’ rail project, and incorporating Nargol and Tuna ports of Gujarat under Coastal Connectivity program. She further described the Rail Budget 2015 as progressive, visionary, environment and people-friendly.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari

It is the first time in history of the country that a rail budget has administrative, economic and technological reforms, said Nitin Gadkari.

Akali Dal MP Prem Singh Chandumajra 

Akali Dal MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said that philosophy of the budget reflects the Prime Minister's vision and fulfill the needs of the present including safety budget. He said it is good budget but added that till now there has not been an announcement on regarding what would be the facilities for different states. He, however, was optimistic that the demands of Punjab would be met soon. 

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirron Kher 

Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher described Rail Budget 2015 as a brilliant Budget. All the expenditure will be utilised to modernise or upgrade the Railways, which is good, added Kher.

Also Read: Rail Budget 2015 - 15 Best Takeaways

Janata Dal (United) leader Pawan Verma

Rail Budget 2015 is a long statement of intent without any substance as to how it will be achieved, said JD(U) leader Pawan Verma. 

Biju Janata Dal leader Tathagata Satpathy

Senior BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy attacked the Railway budget, calling it hollow and disappointing. He said he would give only 2 out 10 points to it. "It's completely hollow. He (Prabhu) spoke of an idea but that idea has not been enunciated, meaning not much thought has gone behind it," he told a news agency.

Also Read: Want to make Indian Railways self-sustainable, profitable, says Suresh Prabhu

Former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi

Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi said the general comment he could make without reading the entire budget is that there is no budget this time, it is just an idea. "It's like saying I will go to moon. It's an idea, a dream but what is important is how are you going to reach there. It's all about future but your finances presently suffer from almost 50 percent shortfall. How are you going to meet the gap," he told reporters. "I see Railways going the Air India way. Its coffers are empty," he added.

Lok Janshakti Party​ MP Chirag Paswan

It is an innovative budget with out-of-the-box ideas, said LJP MP Chirag Paswan.

Also Read: 15 reasons that make Suresh Prabhu tech-savvy

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

It's a revolutionary budget. It incorporates the vision of PM Narendra Modi to completely revamp the Railways to make it more people-oriented, said Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. On microblogging website Twitter, Javadekar said steps like creation of environment directorate, bio-toilets, energy audit, water and energy recycling are highly praiseworthy.

Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani

My heartiest congratulations to the Rail Minister. This is a budget with achievable targets, said Union Minister Smriti Irani. She added that she was happy that the Budget looks at such deep details like women safety, convenience for senior citizens and passengers.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi

I respect Suresh Prabhu’s reform-minded thinking. It's good that they haven’t started new trains, but it’s a below average budget, said Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Underlining that modernisation of Railways requires huge capital investment, Singhvi said Prabhu didn’t indicate that from where money will come.

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla

Noting that no single announcement was made about new trains, Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said he was expecting reduction in rail fare.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Hailing Rail Budget 2015 as a forward looking, futuristic and passenger centric budget, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was delighted that for the first time there is a concrete vision for technology upgradation and modernisation of the Railways. The Budget lays out a clear roadmap to make the Railways the key driver of India's economic growth, added Modi.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge

It is a 'dream budget', said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. The Rail Budget 2015 is full of imaginary ideas and it is impossible to implement it practically, added Kharge. "It's a nicely-worded budget speech. But there is no vision as to how he is going to achieve goals. The minister says he will get into PPP model, BoT agreements, etc. If you depend on others, you are unlikely to meet your targets."

Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati

Commenting on Rail Budget 2015, BSP president Mayawati noted that many new announcements were made, but no information was provided on how many projects introduced in previous Rail Budget had been implemented. We have not seen any improvement in condition of the Indian Railways in the last nine months, said Mayawati.

Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal

Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal on Thursday said Minister Suresh Prabhu presented nothing new in the budget for Indian Railways in the Lok Sabha. 

Saying that he was disappointed by the budget, the former rail minister said he expected reduction in rail fare.

"I don’t really see anything new. It's just continuation of previous projects," said Bansal.

Suresh Prabhu had said Railways would be engine in elimination of poverty, I don’t see that anywhere, added Bansal.

Without tinkering with passenger fares, Minister Suresh Prabhu presented his maiden budget for Indian Railways in the Lok Sabha today, promising to balance passenger needs and long-term interests of the organisation and benchmark it globally on quality, safety and reach.

"There will be no hike in railway passenger fares. We will focus on improving passenger amenities including cleanliness," Railway Minister Prabhu said.

"Railways facilities have not improved substantially for the past few decades which is the result of under-investment that affects capacity, leading to poor morale. This fed into vicious cycle of chronic under-investment for a long time," he said.

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