All is well, weddings not called off, trains are packed: Railways MoS on economy

Avishek G Dastidar
Union MoS for Railways Suresh Angadi in Tundla, UP on Friday. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

INDIA’S ECONOMY is “doing very well” and the indicators are visible — weddings are not being called off, and trains and airports are full, Union MoS for Railways Suresh Angadi said Friday.

Responding to a question from The Indian Express on the state of the economy, Angadi said “common people are happy” but some are trying to “damage the name” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue.

“The state of the economy is very good. Airport full hai, koi seat nahin milta, railway station mein ticket nahin milta, woh full hai...Kisi ka shaadi nahin rukta hai, kisi ka kaam nahin rukta hai (Airports are full, there is no seat available, tickets are not available at railway stations, they are full...no one’s wedding is called off, no one’s work is affected),” he said.

“The common people...they are more happy. Only few people are creating (the issue) to damage the name of (the) honourable PM, who is more popular in the world,” the BJP MP from Karnataka said.

The Minister’s comments come in the backdrop of the overall GDP growth forecast decreasing to 5.6 per cent and factory output contracting by 4.3 per cent, the lowest in eight years.

Angadi was speaking in Uttar Pradesh, where he was inspecting the Tundla-Khurja section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).  (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Asked about these numbers, Angadi said it was part of a “three-year cycle” in every economy. “Every three years, there is a phase...cycle rehta hai (it is a cycle)...you look at every three years, the economy of every country, there is up and there is down,” he said.

Striking an upbeat note, Angadi said the “monsoon is good, harvest is good”. “In the entire country, economy is doing very well...Prices have not gone up. You tell me, where is the problem?” he said.

Angadi also said that India was poised to become a $5 trillion economy and a manufacturing hub through the flagship Make in India initiative. On Friday, the Minister inspected the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) line, between Badhan and Khurja via Tundla, which will soon be commercially operational.

“After the DFC is operational, logistics cost in India will go down from 14 per cent to 8 per cent... In the coming days, India is going to be a manufacturing hub... Every state has Make in India. We can go for export also... We can make small ancillary units for export,” he said.

Around 400 freight trains were part of trial runs over the 194-km DFC stretch. Being built with World Bank assistance, the corridor will connect Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal. The Western DFC, being built with Japanese loans, is from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.

Both the DFCs are expected to be fully operational by 2021 after which around 70 per cent of freight trains will shift to these lines, freeing up capacity in conventional lines. The total cost of the project is Rs 81,459 crore.