Not privatising Railways; only outsourcing some services:Govt

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The government is not privatisingthe Indian Railways but only outsourcing commercial andon-board services to private players in order to providebetter facilities to commuters, Railways Minister Piyush Goyalsaid in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Responding to a series of queries during Question Hour,Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said such a step has been takenas it is not possible for the government to meet the fundrequirement of Rs 50 lakh crore estimated for the next 12years to operate Railways.

'Our intention is to give better services and benefitsand not to privatise the Indian Railways. The Indian Railwaysis and always continues to be the property of India and peopleof India,' Goyal assured in the Upper House.

As per the government's estimate, the Indian Railwaysrequire about Rs 50 lakh crore in the next 12 years.

'Every day, members come with a new demand for lines andbetter services. It is not going to be a possibility for theGovernment of India to provide Rs 50 lakh crore for the next12 years. We all know that,' he said, adding there arebudgetary constraints and other real issues.

Noting that thousands of new trains and more investmentare required for providing new facilities/rakes and meet thepassengers rush, Goyal said: 'If there are private playerswilling to invest and come and run on the existing system,which continues to be always owned by the Indian Railways theconsumers and passengers will benefit.' Maintaining that the government is corporatising railwaysnot privatising it, Minister of State for Railways SureshAngadi said, 'We are outsourcing only the commercial and on-board services to private players. Ownership will be withrailways. We are giving only licenses. They are bringing innew rates.' He said existing employees of the Indian Railways willnot be affected. Private players will provide better servicesand create additional employment opportunities.

On services to disabled passengers and women at railwaystations, Angadi said safety and cleanliness have always beenthe priority of the government and it would take care if theyare lapses in some stations.

He said all railways stations have a separate restingroom for women and police help is also being provided.

Responding to a query whether railways will continueto look into complaints of passengers about on-board servicesprovided by private players, the minister said, 'A valid pointhas been made. If there are any problems, the Railwayauthority will be there to address.' PTI LUXDV DV