India Inc hails rail budget as balanced, pragmatic

New Delhi: Corporates today gave thumbs up to the rail budget terming it as `balanced` while maintaining that hiking passenger fares will help rationalise revenue stream of the Railways. Describing it as a bold and pragmatic Budget, industry chambers appreciated setting up of authorities including railway safety, tariff and station development.

The chambers have called for greater private sector participation in the rail sector. "It is a good balancing act. The announcement of a new member, Railway Board, for public private partnership (PPP) is welcome as it would help bring in guidelines to attract private investments," CII said. It said that the announcement of a Station Development Corporation would leverage the PPP route for establishing and modernising stations.

The five-point agenda outlined in the Budget along with focus on bringing down operating ratio through greater efficiency would go a long way in infusing the necessary momentum to rail infrastructure upgradation, it added. On the hike in rail fares, it said that after several years the increase is prudent and would help rationalise the revenue stream of the railways.

It also said that the move to enhance border rail infrastructure would help in increasing economic cooperation with neighboring countries. However, Assocham said that the goal of Vision 2020 document could be a reality if PPP is seriously taken up for monetising huge chunks of land and properties in metros. The business community and wagon industry in West Bengal also welcomed the rail budget for 2012-13.