Manifesto Mania: What Congress & BJP Promise for Railways #LokSabha2019

The Indian National Congress (INC) released its election manifesto on 2nd of April 2019 with much fanfare. The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has followed with its own ‘Sankalp Patra’ today, 8th April 2019.

With the first phase of voting for the 2019 general elections to the Lok Sabha just days away, it is time to take a look at what the two key political parties of India promise to do for India’s railway sector.

The Indian National Congress Manifesto

The Congress briefly mentions the railways in its election manifesto. It first talks about the railways on Page 8 of its manifesto, under Section 03 Infrastructure.

Snippet from the Congress Manifesto released on 2nd April 2019

The Congress’ manifesto recognises the lacking infrastructure in the country. It also states that there are significant issues dogging design and execution of infrastructure in the country. The manifesto affirms that the INC considers railways as “vital infrastructure” and “crucial public goods.”

In subsection 02 and 03, the Congress promises to “massively modernise all outdated railway infrastructure”, and that future projects will use international standards for design and quality.

The manifesto also states the intent of the party to use “private capital and capacity” for rail projects through the “tried and tested” Public Private Partnership model.

Going further, on Page 10 of the document, the party states the role of government expenditure in leading the creation and provision of public goods. INC promises adequate expenditure on various sectors, including railways.

The manifesto mentions railways one final time, in connection with the development of the North Eastern States on Page 22, promising substantially increased outlays for infrastructure development in the region.

The Bharatiya Janata Party ‘Sankalp Patra’ on Railways

The BJP also makes several mentions of railways in its Sankalp Patra. The opening note from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Page 3 says that the “pace of construction of roads and railway lines has doubled.”

On Page 9 of the document, a brief mention is made by the makers of the document of plans to modernize about 400 railway stations and “cover 50 cities with metro networks.”

Excerpt from Page 9 of the BJP’s Sankalp Patra

The BJP’s manifesto also has its own separate section on Infrastructure.

The party starts off with Urban Mobility on Page 20, stating they will “incentivize cities” to integrate local public transport systems, including local trains.

The BJP’s Sankalp Patra on Urban Mobility

The section has a dedicated subsection devoted to railways. On Page 21, the party promises to “continue the pace of work” and “encourage private participation in the development of railway amenities and infrastructure and provision of services.”

The section goes further and makes specific promises to “ensure conversion of all viable rail tracks to broad gauge by 2022”, and says that the BJP will “make all efforts to ensure electrification of all railway tracks by 2022.”

Snippet from the Railways subsection under the Infrastructure section on Page 21 of the BJP’s Sankalp Patra

The BJP also makes clear the intent of the party to expand the high-speed train network, and run trains like the Vande Bharat Express across the Indian Railways network.

On the same page, the party also commits to complete the long delayed Dedicated Freight Corridor by the year 2022. Also promised is a massive programme of modernisation of railway stations in the country.

Finally, the BJP also uses the chance to promise to ‘equip all main railway stations with Wi-Fi facility by 2022.

Another excerpt from the Railways subsection on Page 21

Finally, the Sankalp Patra also states the party’s intent to improve accessibility for the differently-abled of the country.

At the end of the document, the BJP’s manifesto helpfully provides a quick summary of their pitch for railway users:

Comparing promises made by the two parties, Congress makes all the right noises but leaves the reader with vague promises on what they plan to achieve.

The BJP tries to one-up the Congress with a more clear set of targets that they want to achieve. For some reason though, all of them seem to have a deadline of 2022.

Leave comments on what you think of the two manifestos. Keep the comments restricted to only infrastructure and ideally to railways. Let us know if you find more specific railway related promises in manifestos of any other political party.

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About the Author: RailPost News Desk

8 Comments

  1. The Congress does not mention anything about fare revision or bringing back the Railway budget which has been shelved by the present govt. While it talks about a seperate kisan budget, I wonder why they are ok with BJP’s policy of not having a dedicated railway budget which had been the norm since a century.

  2. Railways saw a major transformation in terms of modernisation, maintenance and operation in current BJP regime. In line with their current policies, i m sure railways will emerge as a huge profit making PSC along with providing affordable and better service to passengers.

      1. TThe party congress should feel ashamed that it’s manifesto is still not clear about railways modernisation bringing and speedy implementation of high speed rail technology.

        Whereas, the nationalist party the bjp has shown in letter and spirit that it is serious about bringing the much delayed high speed technology and the work is also going on speedily. Within 5 years a lot is done by the present modi govt in the railways known as life line of india. What not touched, from the least cared area of cleanliness, to free Wi-Fi throughout country railway station and as in today more than 500 stations have been completed, all the railway stations have been LEDfied, all the train coaches are being replaced on war footing basis with new LHB coaches, new version of train sets are being introduced, train 18 and 21 being the live example. Electrification of railway line is being carried out on war footing basis as a vision of making 100%. I myself witnessed it being regular train traveler, surprised to see electrification in those routed which were neglected for many decades. Bullet train project work is going on speedily the initiation taken by the legend vajpayee. These are the trailer development took place in the field of railways within 5 years by modi govt. People are also seeing these work in practical unlike undelivered promises on paper only by the congress.

  3. “For some reason though, all of them seem to have a deadline of 2022” . I guess the targets are set to 2022 which marks 75 years of independence

  4. If you look at track record of IR performance during Congress 2004 – 2009 – 2014 vs BJP 2014 – 2019, data clearly points out that spending on Gauge conversion, Electrification, New lines, Doubling, Station development, track renewal etc are at their best during BJP tenure. Several drag projects got completed, but yet there are slippages in timelines even from BJP though not as bad as Congress. BJP will need to further concentrate on completing projects with in the planned time, and save resources.

    On the operations front, BJP is a poor performer similar to Congress since fares for sub urban, unreserved, sleeper coaches were not raised. It can not go on for ever. Rail fares should at least match the bus transportation by state governments. Target to have OR at 85% or less.

    1. Yes DP absolutely correct the, stupendous work has been done by modi govt in the field of railways first time in the history of india post independence, unfortunately no media ever shown such changes. Almighty bless modiji and his team to retain the govt at the centre and work with the same enthusiasm and speed so that our country could develop speedily.
      Waiting for train 18, train 21 and bullet trains through out india.

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