Suresh Prabhu rejects Oppn barbs, govt passes rail budget

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 01:10 IST

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu presents the rail budget 2016-17 in Lok Sabha. (PTI File Photo)

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu asserted in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the common man would remain central to the government’s concerns, dismissing the opposition’s criticism over the state transporter’s poor financial performance.

Quoting data of the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), the railway minister attributed this year’s tardy growth figures to “extraneous factors” that contributed to low loading of freight items including coal, cement, food grains and steel.

The Lok Sabha later passed the appropriation bill and ministry’s demands for grants for 2016-17 that entails the biggest-ever plan size of Rs 1.21 lakh crore with the component of Gross Budgetary Support placed at Rs 45,000 crore.

Outlining a three-pronged strategy to revitalise the cash-strapped public transporter, the Railways minister clarified that a proposed bullet train project would be in a self-financing mode on Japanese funding on as low an interest rate as 0.1% over a 50 year repayment period and a moratorium of 15 years on loan repayment.

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