Amid the sharp criticism from the opposition parties along with some ally partners like the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the UPA Government on Tuesday praised Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for presenting a 'responsible and practical' Railway Budget for 2013-14.
"I think after many years, the Railway Budget had candidly stated the financial condition of the Indian Railway and prepared a budget within the resources, it can be mobilised. It is a very responsible, practical and implementable budget," said Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, while talking to reporters outside Parliament here.
"It is a remarkable job of providing new lines, extensions, capital works and production facilities, the budget has included," he added.
Terming it a very sound and forward-looking budget, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the Railway Minister has very clearly reflected the actual financial state of the Railway.
"He (Bansal) has not played the number-game. He has clearly reflected the financial situation of the railway and tried to serve the passengers in a better way within the resources available, without any other budgetary support," said Sibal.
Bansal, who presented his maiden Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha this morning, however, said there would be no hike in passenger fares, as a hike had already been introduced in January this year, but added that certain charges like supplementary fee, superfast fee, reservation fee, cancellation fee and Tatkal charges will see a marginal hike.
The Railway Minister also underlined the measures to make the Indian Railways a better and safer mode of transport and said that the time had come to make the organisation financially sustainable.
Bansal further said the rail network needs to be expanded at a faster rate, and added that the growth of railways is linked to the nation's growth.
This was the first Rail Budget presented by a Congress Minister after 17 years.