Giving a hint on the line of action for the upcoming Budget 2o18, Piyush Goyal, Union Railways Minister informed that Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) will expand its footprint into newer lines of business in the coming days.
“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,” Goyal said.
However, the railway minister added that the final expansion plan would materialize after consultation with the finance and corporate affairs ministries.
Goyal also spoke about the Budget and said he did not need any more funds for the railways.
“I don’t need any more funds. I am very satisfied with whatever has been proposed and frankly I may not even need all of that because we have very aggressive plans on monetizing some of the assets,” he said.
Further elaborating on the plans, Goyal said that the Indian railways will soon change some of the existing guidelines on monetizing the land and station assets.
“We are seriously contemplating to increase the lease period from 45 years to 99 years. We are looking at allowing participants to have multiple leases so that the restrictions become easier. We are looking to allow them to mortgage the asset that they get so that they can raise finances easier and we are removing end use restrictions. We are allowing them to use it for whatever fits into the Local Town Planning Act. With these I am given to understand after extensive stakeholder deliberations that there is a lot of excitement to get involved,” he added.
In order to maximise the value of railways, Goyal further plans to penalize the department for a delay in an approval process.
“The developers had been concerned about the approval process. We are bringing in new guidelines by which we are going to put a penalty on ourselves for every single day of delay. If a person has invested Rs. 500 crores and the railways are supposed to give him an approval in 15 days, if they don’t do that, for every day they will have to be penalized at penal rates of interest,” Goyal said.
He believes that this step will not only help the department but also bring in certainty and predictability to developers.