Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that Indian Railways’ infrastructure will never be privatized. However, the ministry plans to monetize its assets in order to generate resources to boost growth. Also, operations of passenger trains taken up through PPP are targeted to bring a total investment of approximately Rs 30,000 crore, according to a PTI report. The Railway Ministry eyes to monetize assets including through Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) after commissioning, station redevelopment through PPP, railway land parcels, induction of 150 modern rakes through PPP, multi-functional complexes (MFC), railway colonies, hill railways as well as stadiums, the Railway Minister said during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.
According to Goyal, asset monetization would help in generating more resources towards infra creation. The Railways Minister further said that the dedicated freight corridors are a separate corporate entity and the national transporter is supporting them. Indian Railways is supporting but is not the owner of freight rail tracks that are being laid under the DFC project, he said. If the ministry raises funds by leasing them, handing them over to the private sector to utilize in the interim period, the government is doing a service to the nation, the Railway Minister said.
The Railway Ministry, according to the Union Minister, is committed to enhance the pace of infra development, which is vital for the nation’s economy as a whole. The national transporter would always be a key economic driver in the strategy of economic growth led by investment, Goyal further said. He said monetization of assets involves various processes of transaction, and the expected investment depends on the outcome of the bidding process open to the public and private sectors. Therefore, as of now, the actual investment that is expected from private and public sectors cannot be ascertained, the Railway Minister added.