Indian Merchants’ Chamber had organized an international conference on“Indian Railways – A Trillion Dollar Opportunity” in Mumbai. Special emphasis will also be given by the government to the role of MSMEs, need for employment generation and skill enhancement. Key discussions centered on the theme of accelerating investments in Indian Railways, as an important growth engine for the Indian economy.
The conference focused on understanding Indian Railways’ contribution in economic progress and inter–economic linkages. Key discussions centered on the theme of accelerating investments in Indian Railways, as an important growth engine for the Indian economy. The government is focusing on enhancing availability, quality and financing of infrastructure projects for railways. Several Policy and regulatory measures, along with issues related to the environment, sustainability and safety aspects were also highlighted.
Also discussed were freight logistics capacity acceleration, improved customer services and security and developing railway stations into business and tourism – hubs. The participants at the conference were bankers, govt officials, private sector players, investors and Corporates.
Speaking at the conference Mr. Deepak Premnarayen – President, Indian Merchants’ Chamber said, “The conference was the first of a series of conferences, which our Infrastructure committee at IMC is planning to conduct in future. The conference was attended by a number of MSMEs. It was also wonderful to learn that Railways are creating a fund which would likely have investments from Global Pension & Sovereign Funds. The money from these would go towards the Railway linked projects; also, the biggest advantage would be that it will bring inexpensive sticky money.”
Being invited as the Chief Guest at the event, Mr Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Union Minister of Railways said, “Railways is one of the most important infrastructure entity in India. It is our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s priority to transform Indian Railways. There are joint ventures with State governments which have also started by looking at new projects which are commercially viable. There is high priority on punctuality and innovative financing options. World Bank is supporting a Railway Development Fund, financed by pension and sovereign wealth funds. Another example is to develop stations and its infrastructure on commercial basis. We have our major emphasis on decentralization in decision making, which enhances transparency in tendering, safety and human resource functionalities. ‘’
‘’Suresh Prabhu’s passion is unmatched compared to the other ministers in the past. A 90 year old practice of presenting Railway Budget will be changed in 2017 wherein it will be merged with the Union Budget, which will be presented by the Finance Minister. There have been various initiatives undertaken by the govt. of Indian in power, roads, renewables, metros. Interestingly, LIC is lending 1.5 lakh crores to the Indian Railways.‘’, according to Shri Deepak Parekh, Chairman HDFC Limited.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Bibek Debroy, Member Niti Aayog ‘’ Railways is the only one sector which has a continuous interface with the citizens of India. Railway development is primarily driven by passenger fares, but till today it is largely dependent on passenger fares. Facilities and services in Railways need upliftment. In the north-eastern region, wherein there was no rail connectivity, the govt. has started developing rail network and connectivity ”
The systemic changes brought within Indian Railways by the Govt. of India was the need of the hour. The perception of Indian Railways has changed from a slow moving behemoth to a responsive modern organization. The conference concluded on a promising note creating a positive environment on the future roadmap of Indian Railways.