Buoyed by thrust given to the sector in the Railway budget and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects such as high speed trains and smart cities, Canada-based Bombardier Inc.’s rail unit is bullish about the opportunities in India.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced an investment outlay of Rs.8.5 lakh crore ($125 billion) to transform the Indian Railways in the next five years in the Railway budget.
“The number of projects is immense but the segments identified for investment that Bombardier will follow most keenly under Indian Railways are rolling stock such as locomotives, EMUs, inter-city or commuter trains, plus semi high-speed and high-speed rail, maintenance and advanced signalling systems,” Harsh Dhingra, Chief Country Representative, India, Bombardier Transportation, told.
Bombardier Transportation is also evaluating to offer solutions such as light metro/monorails/light rail vehicles for smart cities, he added. The firm is already pursuing various metro projects such as Bengaluru Metro Phase-II, Nagpur Metro, Ahmedabad Metro and Mumbai Metro Phase-III along with metro projects for signalling systems only in Noida Metro and Greater Noida Metro.
“Rail is considered a significant engine of inclusive growth and development for India, with the potential to contribute up to 2 per cent of GDP compared to current 1 per cent levels,” Mr. Dhingra said.
“To maintain historic levels of national growth at 7-8 per cent a year, the railways need to grow each year by around 9.5 per cent. This will create new jobs, save energy and improve the environment, while moving people, raw materials and goods more efficiently nationwide,” he added.
The firm has so far invested $100 million in the last two decades in India and employs 1,100 people. It also caters to the export market in Australia, Middle East, Europe and Brazil from its manufacturing facility in Gujarat. The firm sources 70 per cent of content from India itself.
“We are open to more investments and increasing headcount locally subject to winning the projects we are currently pursuing for India,” Mr. Dhingra said.
He also said the firm takes confidence from initiatives to support foreign direct investments, from which Indian Railways expects to collect $13 billion, besides a proposed infrastructure fund to raise long-term debt from domestic and overseas sources, including pension funds, bilateral and multi-lateral financial institutions to address the funding issues behind major projects.