Opposition on Thursday attacked the first full-fledged Railway budget of the BJP-led NDA government saying it lacked vision and road map to execute the “nice ideas it is full of”.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, both of whom are also former Railway Ministers, slammed the budget for lacking in substance and merely “weaving dreams”.
“It’s a nicely-worded budget speech. But there is no vision as to how he is going to achieve goals. The minister says he will get into PPP model, BoT agreements, etc. If you depend on others, you are unlikely to meet your targets,” Kharge told reporters outside Parliament.
Trivedi, who has at times gone against his party’s line in praising the government, was also disdainful for the budget, saying it has woven a dream for people but lacks plan to fulfil it.
“It’s like saying I will go to moon. It’s an idea, a dream but what is important is how you are going to reach there. It’s all about future but your finances presently suffer from almost 50 per cent shortfall. How are you going to meet the gap,” he told reporters.
“I see Railways going the Air India way. Its coffers are empty,” he said.
Senior BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy also attacked the Railway budget, calling it hollow and disappointing. He said he would give only 2 out 10 points to it.
“It’s completely hollow. He (Prabhu) spoke of an idea but that idea has not been enunciated, meaning not much thought has gone behind it,” he told.
Kharge also criticised Prabhu’s decision to not announce new trains, saying development is not static like stagnant water.
Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily was critical of the rail budget saying it was just a vision document.
However, Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar called it a “historic and innovative” budget which addresses environmental concerns in a much “focused” manner.
“This is absolutely a revolutionary budget. It reflects the vision of the Prime Minister for making railways a people oriented enterprise. It will ensure more safety, more facilities and it addresses the issue of resource crunch through innovative mechanism,” Javadekar said.
Akali Dal MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said that philosophy of the budget reflects the Prime Minister’s vision and fulfil the needs of the present including safety budget.
He said it is a good budget but added that till now there has not been an announcement on regarding what would be the facilities for different states. He however was optimistic that the demands of Punjab would be met soon.