Describing the Singapore visit as “successful”, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that it has given a “big fillip” to mutual cooperation between the two countries in the field of infrastructure development.
Prabhu visited Singapore to participate as a key speaker during the Infrastructure Finance Summit 2015 organised on October 20 by the World Bank in association with Singapore government.
The summit witnessed the presence of economists and other experts who discussed the current and future economic and financial environment with a particular focus on the opportunities and challenges in the major, dynamic economies of South and Southeast Asia.
Explaining the government’s decision to open up the Railways to private stakeholders at the summit, Prabhu stated that the Indian Railways has got a constant stream of income to provide reasonable facilities and comforts to the people travelling on rails from sources such as provident funds, insurance etc.
Referring to major transformation being undertaken in Indian Railways including the re-development of about 400 railway stations, Prabhu highlighted the scope of investments in the rail sector in India.
Seeking private investments, Prabhu said private players could participate in upgradation and horizontal expansion of stations including construction of malls, laying new tracks, creating separate freight and passenger corridors to reduce decongestion etc by adopting equity route and work with Indian companies on zero-risk basis with an assured financial return.
He also explained at the summit various programmes which the government is working upon towards modernisation of Indian Railways as well as the investment opportunities for the private players.
According to Prabhu, summit provided a good opportunity to policy-makers and leading minds in finance to discuss the latest global initiatives, the approach of institutional investors and other private funders, the opportunities and obstacles that exist on the ground in Asian emerging economies, and the most effective strategies to accelerate progress in the current volatile economic environment.
The Railway Minister also mentioned that given the present global economic scenario where US and Japan are not doing well on economic front, Chinese economy is slowing down, India holds a promising future and aims at reaching a double-digit growth in future especially after introduction of GST.