New Delhi, Mar 14 (ANI): Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who presented the Railway Budget proposals for 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, said the time is right to think about a National Railway policy.
Trivedi said: "Railways will invest Rs.7.35 lakh crore during 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), a quantum jump from the Rs.1.92 lakh crore invested in previous plan period."
He said the railways must attract 10 per cent of the Rs.20 lakh crore that the government expects to spend on infrastructure during 12th Plan period.
"Railways should contribute two per cent of GDP from the present one percent," he added.
He further said high-speed trains should be introduced for both passengers and freight.
The Gross Budgetary Support for Railways in the 12th Plan is estimated at Rs.2.5 lakh crore he said, adding that the railways will contribute Rs.1.99 lakh crore through its internal resources.
Asserting that he has opted for a generational change for the railways, Trivedi said: "I have tried to meet aspirations of people from the length and breadth of the country."
He also proposed the setting up of an Independent Railway Safety Authority as a statutory body.
According to experts, the Railway Minister may move some proposals to mop up resources for speedy completion of all railway projects.
Indian Railways is a vital national transportation grid for the country's 1.2 billion people.
Indian Railways has 114,500 kilometers of total track over a route of 65,000 kilometers and 7,500 stations. It has the world's fourth largest railway network after those of the United States, Russia and China.
The railways carry over 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. It is the world's second largest commercial or utility employer, by number of employees, with more than 1.36 million employees in its organisation. (ANI)
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