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Financial health of railways is in ‘deep trouble’: Prabhu

While pitching for increased investment into the railways, he said pension fund could be one of the possible means of pumping in the money into the largest public transporter which is facing losses to the tune of thousands of crores.

Stressing on potential of railways, Prabhu said, “The Railways can become an engine of growth in the coming years and contribute 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent in the GDP with an improved infrastructure.”

While underlining that railways requires huge investments to expand its network to provide physical connectivity, he said that 30,000 km to 40,000 km of lines need to be expanded to carry more cargo besides people. Giving the example of Naxal-infested areas, Prabhu said besides carrying security personnel, a better railway infrastructure could bring more investments in such places and create job opportunities. Successive governments have been of the view that jobs can wean away youth from naxalism and militancy.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim of taking the economy to $20 trillion from $2 trillion, he said policies which are ambitious and at the same time ‘doable’ can help achieve the target.

Terming lack of physical infrastructure as a ‘road block’, Prabhu said many things have to be put in order to achieve the desired growth levels, adding that after setting targets, there was a need to put in place a strategy to achieve the objectives and the Modi government was working on it.
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