Prabhu bets on partnerships for improving railways

New Delhi: Multi-stakeholder partnerships was the key to improving Indian Railways at the earliest, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Monday.

“We have a comprehensive plan to transform Indian Railways. Doing it at the earliest involves multi-stakeholder partnerships in its various areas,” Prabhu said at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

Admitting that providing a superior rail experience was a challenge, Prabhu stressed the need to increase capacity exponentially with sustained investments.

“Although the government is making efforts, partnerships will be the key in this endeavour,” Prabhu asserted while addressing captains of the industry at the day-long session on “Opportunities in Indian Raiways – scope for partnerships”.

Citing partnerships with Japan in modernisation and expansion, the minister said many agreements were signed to leverage opportunities for a quantum leap in technology absorption.

On financial viability of the railways, Prabhu said efforts were on to augment non-rail revenue by monetising assets and modernising stations through public-private participation, multilateral organisations, self-help groups and others.

Railway board member (traffic) Mohammad Jamshed said the performance parameters of railways had improved in fiscal 2015-16 despite headwinds.

Rajiv Lall, chairman of the CII National Committee on Infrastructure Financing and IDFC Ltd., spoke on the corporatisation of railways.