Suresh Prabhu bats for foreign pension funds to revive railways

By: | Published: January 20, 2015 3:52 AM

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has stressed the need for massive capital investment, newer cost-effective technologies and private sector...

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has stressed the need for massive capital investment, newer cost-effective technologies and private sector participation in Indian Railways so as to make the sector attractive for the investors. The ministry has decided to tap foreign pension funds as part of the resource mobilisation plan to bail out Railways from the deep financial trouble.

“We will invite foreign pension funds to invest in Indian Railways. This could be in the form of loans at a cheaper rate. We have to bring in investments both from within and outside the country,” he said after inaugurating the 15th national seminar on “PPP and FDI in Indian Railways” in Hyderabad, organised by the Centre for Transportation Research and Management (CTRAM) and South Central Railway.

Further, dismissing fears about privatisation, Prabhu said that expanding the railway infrastructure and improving the efficiency through PPP and FDI was in the interest of the organisation and its employees. “We will tap domestic resources. We want private capital but not privatisation,” he added.

He hinted that the private sector can play a great role and put Indian Railways back on track which is at present in crossroads. “We need supporting logistics as two-thirds of the revenues come from freight, decongest railway lines, double capacities and increase the networking infrastructure.”

“The railways will never be privatised. It will continue to be owned by the government of India. The engine and the guard will be in our hands, only bogies will be open for private players,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry is also planning to set up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in association with state governments. “We are thinking of setting up separate corporations or SPVs in partnership with state governments, have equity and pool in surplus revenues,” he said. These partnerships will help to develop and strengthen the railway infrastructure.

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