Railway budget a reflection of NDA Government's 'noble' motives: PM Modi

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the railway budget presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu was indicative of his government's noble endeavor with respect to the needs of the common man, and added that the proposal is aimed at benefitting the poorest of the poor in the country.

"The railway budget, in the past, had focused on how many coaches would be added, how many coaches would have air-conditioning and how many trains would be added to the existing network. For the first time, we have a railway budget targeting Rs eight lakh crores without raising passenger fares. This is a reflection of the government's noble and accomplished motive," Prime Minister Modi said.

"This year's rail budget is one aimed for benefitting the poorest of the poor in the country. The Railways has not only been created to link one place to another, but is an institution to give a fillip to the national economy and with speed. Today's economy is aimed at this progress," he added.

The Prime Minister further said that the Railways was a crucial sector as far as offering employment to the youth is concerned.

"The Railways can provide employment to the youth of the nation, give a boost to tourism, improve India's image across the world and the economy can be given a new direction. There is no area which has not been touched upon by this year's railway budget," he said.

"The youth of this nation have always been keen to acquire jobs with the Railways, but the recruitment process in the past was not transparent - that today's youth can aspire for a corruption-free job has been enunciated in the railway budget proposed for 2015-16," he added.

Speaking of the railway budget, Prime Minister Modi said that the proposal has addressed many of the grievances of the common man.

"This year's railway budget has given primacy and priority to providing passengers amenities, improving the railway network, upgrading its technology and has come out with new and progressive plans and objectives," he said.

"This year's railway budget has also placed emphasis on measures for ensuring the safety of women travelling in trains. A helpline for this purpose is also in the pipeline. Steps are being taken to provide passengers with better food. There is a provision for creating world-class railway stations, some of which will be 20-25 storeys high and have every type of facility possible," he added.

Congratulating Prabhu for the proposal, Prime Minister Modi noted that this is the first railway budget to put forward a plan for the next five years.

"With all my heart, I wish to congratulate the Railways Minister for chalking out a plan for the railways for the next five years instead of sticking to the traditional year-on-year plan. This is the first time the railways budget has announced a budget with a focus on a financial and expenditure discipline. This is itself is an indication of the respect given to the money earned by the common man and to ensure that these monies earned are used appropriately," he said.

Earlier in the day, Prabhu had presented his maiden budget in the Parliament, stating that the sector has to undergo a transformation over the next five years.

He said the proposed investment in railways will be Rs. 8,56,020 crores by 2019.

The thrust of the Railways is to become a prime mover of the economy once again, act as a resource mobilisation for higher investments, decongestion of heavy haul routes and speeding up of trains, emphasis on gauge conversion, doubling, tripling and electrification.

The minister also announced that Wi-Fi would be provided at 'B' category stations. (ANI)