#Conclave16: PM Modi has thrown his whole weight behind Railways, says Prabhu

The Union railways minister said the emphasis is to give voice to customers.

 |  Breaking views  |  2-minute read |   17-03-2016
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The railway ministry has formulated a five-pronged strategy to get the railways on track with emphasis on customer satisfaction and giving voice to passengers, said railways minister Suresh Prabhu on March 17. Speaking on the first day of India Today Conclave 2016, Prabhu said the five-pronged strategy consists of improved customer experience, new sources of revenue, cost optimisation, investment in infrastructure and structural reform.

"We have undertaken several steps for customer satisfaction such as cleanliness and beautification of railway stations, digital ticketing, better food quality and more choices," said the minister while speaking on the topic "Putting railways back on track, being the bogey of change."

"The railways has stressed on giving voice to customers. A campaign has been launched for customers to reach us by way of social media. We offer solution to people's problem on real-time basis. For instance, we have provided medical aid, milk to babies, helped a stranded lady who was being harassed, chargesheeted a TTE who was demanding bribe on the next station," he said.

Prabhu claimed that PM Narendra Modi is the first prime minister of India who has really put his whole weight behind the railways. "Every other day his focus is on railways," he said.

The minister was of the view that for the first time there is an assured availability of fund for projects to ensure timely completion despite reduction in gross budgetary support. There has been an increased capital expenditure by more than 100 per cent. While the expenditure in 2009-14 was Rs 48,100 crore, the target for 2015-16 is Rs 1 lakh crore which is the highest ever. In fact, it is more than double of what it was in the previous five years of previous government. In 2016-17, railways will invest Rs 1.21 lakh crore, he said.

Prabhu felt that this was one of the toughest years for Railways because the impact of changes in policies concerning the core sector - which is freight driven and earns two-thirds of revenue - and also transportation sector over the years manifested this year.

"Despite this we performed good on various parameters in relative terms. We implemented 139 announcements of the previous Budget. The cost saving achieved during this period was Rs 8,720 crore, which is unprecedented," he said.

Watch the full speech here.

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