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India rail budget seen seeking more private sector funds

Published on Jul 8, 2014 11:53 AM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's new government is expected to suggest a bigger private sector role in developing the nation's railway as it presents its bellwether budget on Tuesday for the colonial-era train network.

The rail finance bill is traditionally regarded by economists as setting the stage for the national budget, due on Thursday, in which the right-wing government will lay out its economic reform plans.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week said in a speech he hopes for more private sector money in modernising the railways, still the main form of long-distance travel for most of India's population of 1.2 billion people.

"We want the railway stations to have better facilities than airports. This is our dream," said Modi, whose government is expected to announce more public-private partnerships in railway infrastructure.

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