The Indian Railways will depend heavily on public-private partnership (PPP) projects for growth despite its past record of slow pace in attracting investors.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pointed out sectors for PPP projects that were not open earlier. Private investments are being pushed thanks to the Rs 50-trillion investment required between 2018 and 2030, which the government would find difficult to generate by itself.
The budget signals welcoming PPP back, categorically in three sectors, namely roads, rail and metro. In railways, PPP is going to be warmly welcomed across segments such as railway electrification, rolling stock, track renewal, container trains and high-speed passenger trains
A senior Railway Ministry official said that 53 types of concessions are currently given in the mail-express train including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto. These include patients suffering from a serious illness such as elderly, women, cancer, heart, kidney, and not limited to sportsmen, widows, students, youth, artists and award winners. Cancer patients get free travel in AC-3 while Assistant receives 75 per cent Recovery in sleeper. Most concessions range between 75 to 50 per cent and 40 per cent in different categories.
The basic questions come in our mind, what will happen to all the concessions provided by the Railways on the train and will the fare be hiked ?
We need to wait and see how this model is going to work.