The railway budget announced by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, though is a clear attempt to bring cheer across all sections, has evoked a mixed reaction from industry chambers.
Welcoming the investment plans made by the minister, industry bodies showed some disappointment that the budget had not mentioned any public private partnership (PPP) projects.
However, the Confederation of Indian Industry welcomed the cut in passenger fares and said the forward looking railway budget “will create a win-win situation for all — the railways, the wagon manufacturers, heavy industries and the common man.”
“By stepping up spending for financial year 2009-10 to Rs 37,900 crore and by proposing a massive investment for the eleventh plan period, the railways could set the growth trigger for certain sectors like steel, engineering and construction,” said Harsh Pati Singhania, president, FICCI.
However, the industry body pointed out that the railway minister has refused to respond to the current slowdown by cutting freight rates.
Bombardier Transportation managing director (India) Rajeev Jyoti said that the though this interim budget is valid for the next four months, it indicates continuity in the investment plans of the railway ministry.
“It was clear that the railway minister wants to invest in infrastructure development to enable the railways to compete with road and air transport,” he said.
But Kalindee Rail Nirmal (Engineers) termed it as an election budget. “The announcement of Rs 37,900 crore investments in 2009-10 is not encouraging enough. Many railway projects just get inaugurated. Project implementation is a far cry,” its chairman and director RD Sharma said.