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India seeks foreign investors for crumbling railways, plans first bullet train

Published on Jul 8, 2014 5:10 PM
 
 Passengers travel on an overcrowded train at Loni town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh July 8, 2014. India unveiled plans on Tuesday to open up its railways to foreign investment and introduce the country's first bullet train in a budget for the network closely watched for clues about new Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic priorities. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India unveiled plans on Tuesday to open up its railways to foreign investment and introduce the country's first bullet train in a budget for the network closely watched for clues about new Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic priorities.

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

The crumbling railways need an "immediate course correction" after years of mismanagement, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda told parliament as he outlined ambitious plans for the network that carries 23 million people daily.

The plan to allow foreign investment marked a first for the railway.

 
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