Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said financial wing of Railway’s – Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) – will soon expand its footprint into newer business lines. Goyal was attending the launch event of India INX Global Securities Market and the maiden listing of IRFC Green Bonds. During the event, Goyal said in coming days, IRFC will be able to use the MAT or Minimum Alternate Tax better. “IRFC in the days to come is going to expand its footprint into the newer lines of business and will be able to use its Minimum Alternate Tax better because of which valuation of IRFC can be much better,” the minister said.
Goyal also said his ministry has plans to make the most use of the assets with the Indian Railways. “Have aggressive plans to monetize some assets of Indian Railways, planning to change some existing guidelines on monetizing land and station assets. We are also contemplating to increase lease period from 45 yrs to 99 years and allowing participants to have multiple leases.”
Goyal further said, “Full Board meeting of Railway Board members will now be held every week, and if there is no agenda when we meet on a cup of tea to exchange the thoughts and idea.”
On January 8, railway officials said drones fitted with a camera will now monitor railway projects, aid crowd management and even oversee maintenance works across its zones. The West Central Railways, headquartered at Jabalpur (MP), will be the first zonal railway to procure the drone cameras and it has already conducted a trial run of the cameras last week in all of its three divisions. The cameras (UAV/NETRA) would be used for various activities, especially project monitoring and maintenance of the tracks and other railway infrastructure, the national transporter said in a statement.
In a separate event today, National Rail Transport Seminar was held in New Delhi today. The theme of the seminar was “Railways for Sustainable Development.” The keynote address at the inaugural session of the seminar was given Mohd Jamshed, Member Traffic, Railway Board. During the speech, Mohd Jamshed said, “We are determined to increase the model transport share of Railway. There are 3 solution sets for this issue –expanding the freight basket of Indian Railways, rationalizing the tariff structure & building capacity.”