India plans £88bn railways revamp


India has said it will spend £88bn to modernise its crumbling railways, pledging to restore the “backbone” of the country to its former glory – and introduce yoga lessons for stressed-out staff.

The railways minister, Suresh Prabhu, said the network was crucial to India’s economic development as he signalled investment totalling more than 8.5tn rupees over the next five years.

Prabhu promised to make India’s railways safer, build more lines and increase the speed of journeys on nine key routes. He said the government would introduce wireless networks in stations and train the notoriously surly frontline staff in “soft skills” to make travel a more pleasant experience.

He ruled out fare increases, after a steep rise last year sparked an angry public response. The government did not spell out how it would fund the rise in investment. More info

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