The Indian Railways is on a major capital expenditure drive with Rs 82,000 crore worth of orders being placed even as it is taking a slew of steps to upgrade customer service including clean stations, e-catering and improved services.
New Delhi: The Indian Railways is on a major capital expenditure drive with Rs. 82,000 crore worth of orders being placed even as it is taking a slew of steps to upgrade customer service including clean stations, e-catering and improved software for ticket booking, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at 95th Annual Session of ASSOCHAM held in New Delhi today.
“The Indian Railways’ capex spend would include a Rs. 40,000 crore order with the GE which is the largest order for the global conglomerate,” said Prabhu in the inaugural session of the Annual General Meeting of The Associated Chambers of The Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
Prabhu said, “As many as 103 announcements made in the Railway Budget for 2015-16 have been implemented with several stations showing marked improvement in cleanliness.”
Indian Railways upgrade to boost Economic Growth by 3%, says Suresh Prabhu. He added that projects were being awarded in a transparent manner and “not a single rupee tender comes to the minister. Funds were raised at an affordable rate from the LIC which is just above the G-Sec (government security) rate paid in 30 years. The ministry is also discussing the creation of a $30 billion fund with the World Bank to finance key rail projects, he said, further adding that the capex plans included Rs 82,000 crore for a Dedicated Freight Corridor project.
Addressing industry leaders at the ASSOCHAM AGM, he said that capital expenditure of Rs. one lakh crore on building new infrastructure would be spent within the current financial year in the most transparent manner.
The level of transparency has gone up to an extent where “minister is not involved not in a single rupee worth of tender. All decisions are being taken at the professional levels,” said Prabhu.
“With 1.3 million employees, the Railways is also putting in place a transparent Transfer and Posting policy along with a fair system of recruitment,” said Prabhu. “The government’s Digital India programme is being used by the Railways in providing e-catering with new facilities like base kitchens being created.”
As for structural reforms, the Indian Railways, Prabhu said, is trying to frame a regulatory system. “In the last one year or so, the situation has changed so much that despite Railways needing a massive resource, money is just not a problem.”
“Money has been raised from the Life Insurance Corporation at a rate cheaper than the G-Secs”, the minister said.
He said if things go as planned for the capex spend and boosting the Indian Railways activity, this alone could contribute between two and 2.5 per cent to the country’s GDP.
In his address, ASSOCHAM President Rana Kapoor said that the chamber has been running a successful campaign for ‘Believe in India’ seeking to generate a positive environment for taking the economic growth to 9-10 percent.
Prabhu said that the Indian Railways is on a major capital expenditure drive with Rs 82,000 crore worth of orders being placed.
The ministry is also taking a slew of steps to upgrade customer service including clean stations, e-catering and ticket booking.
“The Indian Railways’ capex spend would include a Rs 40,000 crore order with the GE which is the largest order for the global conglomerate,” he said adding that capital expenditure of Rs 1 lakh crore on building new infrastructure would be spent within the current financial year.
During the event, ASSOCHAM released a report – Believe in India: Restoring Confidence and Conviction in India`s Economy. It enlists ways to boost the growth of Indian economy.
ASSOCHAM recommends four strategic pillars which are central for ‘Make in India’.
The pillars include vital reforms in business regulations; capitalize on domestic demand; prioritize a sectoral approach and private sector capabilities through public linkages.
It suggests review of land acquisition law, further improve ease of doing business by setting up single window clearance, strengthen domestic value addition through reduced duties, GST rollout, development of industrial corridors and affordable power for industry.
It also asked the government to leverage ‘Brand India’ to create strong global brands and trustmarks across key sectors and integration of the Foreign Trade Policy with ‘Make in India’.