NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at attracting private investments, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday assured investors of hassle-free procedures, faster clearances, changes in the contract clause and an investment-friendly framework to facilitate sustainable long-term investment in the rail sector. The Railways is also planning road shows abroad as part of the efforts to woo foreign investors.
“Road shows will be held in select countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, US, France and Belgium to attract investors in the rail sector,” said Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar, adding that the Railways is looking for new technology, funds and best practices from overseas.
The Railways for the first time held an investors’ meet at Rail Bhavan, seeking a feedback on the obstacles and possibilities of FDI in railway infrastructure and maintenance activities. Over 100 delegates from 65 major companies attended the meeting ith discussions ranging from proposals,possibilities and processes for FDI.
The participants included representatives from the Chambers of Commerce, Railway PSUs, PSUs of Ministry of Heavy Industry, investment consultants, investment bankers, infrastructure sector, construction sector, port sector, rolling stock manufacturers and raw material manufacturers among others.
Prabhu said the Railways would continue to be run by the government and private participation would be welcomed in the infrastructure sector. He said that a framework was needed for facilitating sustainable long-term investment in the sector. “It is necessary to balance the interest of stakeholders including railway employees and railway users, investors and the government so as to make the Railways a vibrant and efficient enterprise. Railways has the obligation to protect its vast fraternity of employees and at the same time look after the interests of its users,” he said.
The Centre has approved 100 per cent FDI in various railway activities except railway operations.
An overview of the framework for different participative models, projects to be undertaken through procurement contract and sectoral guidelines for domestic and FDI was launched. Investors have been asked to study and give their suggestions on the same at the next meet scheduled for early 2015.