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Indian Prime Minister Plans Billions in Railway Improvements

Image: Passengers travel on an overcrowded train at Loni town in Uttar Pradesh
Passengers travel on an overcrowded train in Loni, located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on July 8. ANINDITO MUKHERJEE / Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government made its first major economic policy statement on Tuesday by announcing its railway budget, disappointing markets by promising to seek foreign and private funding for the railways but giving no details of how it would lure investors. The government plans to spend 654.5 billion rupees ($10.95 billion) making railway improvements in 2014/2015.

India's state-owned railways are the fourth-largest in the world, transporting 23 million passengers a day, but have suffered from years of low investment and populist policies that have kept fares low.

In the photo above, passengers travel on an overcrowded train in Loni, located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday.

--Reuters