Railway ministry identifies areas for private sector participation in modernization of railways

Image Courtesy: railwaynews.co.in

The Indian Railways is suffering from lack of investment, capacity augmentation, customer service, freight and timely service. The most important area of improvement is its infrastructure.  Even though the railway ministry has stepped up the investment by three times in the last two years as compared to the last decade, the sector is still suffering from lack of investment.

Addressing the 89th Annual General Meeting of FICCI in New Delhi,  Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, informed that the  Government at present is not only relying on the traditional budgetary sources for investment, but other external sources also. While public investment was a key source of investment, the Railway Ministry has opened various areas for private participation. These areas include railway station redevelopment, manufacturing of diesel and electric locomotives, integrated multimodal transport system. It has initiated railway station redevelopment and different models are implemented in Bhubaneswar, Habibgunj, Gandhinagar and Surat.

Prabhu specified that one of the significant steps by railways is bringing structural changes in management for faster decision-making process and will bring accountability in railway operations. Talking about the Rail Vikas Shivir, he said that 1.3 million employees shared innovative ideas in rail operations and advanced a roadmap for the substantial progress of the sector.

Indian Railways has immense expenditure pressure being the largest employer and extremely low freight growth. The government has stressed on multiple revenue streams, monetization of assets for railway revenue and created a separate Non-Fare Revenue Directorate to find ways for generating substantial revenue from sources other than passenger fares and freight, he added.

Earlier, the Minister said that the government is currently working on various equity models including joint ventures with state governments, Private-Public Partnership(PPP) and other forms of private participation to mobilize resources for investment in railways and also remove impediments like land acquisition, law and order among others.