Indian Railways eyes private investment for big projects! Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has said that several modes of financing to expand the railway infrastructure across the country are being considered. In an interaction with IE, Goyal said that viability gap funding, public-private partnership (PPP) and government expenditure are some of the financing options that Indian Railways is mulling for various upcoming projects. In a post Budget 2019 interaction, Goyal said that the Union Budget 2019 is reforms-oriented and also lays down the vision for Indian Railways.
Even though he ruled out privatization of the national transporter, the minister spoke on the possibility of partnerships with private players. According to Goyal, some of the old projects like station development and 100 per cent electrification are already being carried out with the help of the private sector. Indian Railways have worked out what needs to be done to create additional capacity so that their modal share of freight can start going up once again, cost of logistics starts going down and also people will get more avenues to travel by train in order to reach their destination, he said.
According to Railway Minister, all of these will involve doubling, tripling, the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), semi-high speed corridor, for regional connectivity, to aspirational districts. Thus, it is a holistic vision that Indian Railways have worked out through government expenditure, viability gap funding as well as PPP.
While speaking about the PPP opportunities, Goyal said if someone wants to set up a semi-high speed corridor between any two parts of India, providing connectivity to tourists spots and is also willing to invest in the project, Indian Railways would be happy to consider such proposals. Indian Railways is also open to inviting new technologies if someone wants to bring new technology and faster rail transport, he said. Citing the example of the monorail project in Mumbai, the minister said Tthe party that set up the project failed and the government had to take it up, however, one failure does not mean everybody will fail. Indian Railways has partnerships with many SPVs like Pipav railway, Krishnapatnam Railway company, Goyal said.