Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said that the Indian Railways will never be privatised, however, investments in this massive government sector must be encouraged, Goyal clarified. Goyal's statement comes months after the Indian government had hinted that it will privatise at least 151 out of the 13,000 passenger trains in India.
Goyal said this during a discussion on Demands for Grants for Railways, where he stressed there have been no train accidents in India, in the past two years and no passenger died as the railways sector has put focussed more on passenger safety. He mentioned that when the private and the public sectors work together, the nation and all its sectors can move towards growth, paving ways for more employment opportunities.
Given our emphasis on passenger safety & investment, the last passenger death due to a railway accident was reported in March 2019 but no death in nearly 2 years (between 2019-2021): Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in Lok Sabha pic.twitter.com/toazNnRVjJMarch 16, 2021
He however reiterated "Indian Railways will never be privatised. It is a property of every Indian and will remain to be so." He was then quoted by PTI as saying that the Modi government has hiked the investment in this sector to Rs 2.15 lakh crore in 2021-22, from Rs 1.5 lakh crore in 2019-20 FY.
He then acknowledged that the last death in a train accident took place in March 2019.
Meanwhile, last year the Ministry of Railways had invited Request for Qualifications for private companies who will be given the tenders to operate 151 passenger train services over 109 Origin-Destination pairs of routes. Referring to this, Goyal on July 8, 2020, had said "Public-Private Partnership was mentioned in every budget b/w 2004 & 2014. In a 2005 budget speech, P Chidambaram said, "Govt will recognise the leading role of pvt sector & provide a supportive policy environment."
(With agency inputs)