Why the Railway Budget gives high-speed train maker Bombardier cause to cheer – Harsh Dhingra, Chief Country Representative, Bombardier Transportation India said technology innovation and passenger comfort will get a boost with increased private participation through PPP and FDI (Courtesy: The Hindu) – Edited excerpts
Q: How do you see the first Railway Budget of the new government?
A: The speech by the Railway Minister was interesting. The first Railway Budget of the Narendra Modi Government seems to have succeeded in sending the right signals to private players. The announcements and focus given to infrastructure development show the direction of the new regime for the next 4-5 years. The government will now focus on completing existing projects rather than announcing new ones, which is a positive thing. This shows the Government’s focus on stabilising the Railways.
Q: The government is mulling FDI in areas such as infrastructure. What is your take on it?
A: The announcement for high-speed trains and opening up of foreign investments for infrastructure is a good move. At least the beginning has been made by this. FDI in infrastructure would mean capacity augmentation in the field of cars, locomotives, track laying and rolling stock, among others. European and Japanese companies are already here. They will bring newer technology and encourage local component makers to opt for R&D.
Q: What will be the immediate effect of the Railway Budget announcements?
India will see high-speed trains running at 160-200 km per hour. Also, with specific focus on public-private partnership (PPP) in infrastructure, passenger comfort will improve and technology innovation will take place.
Q: What are the areas that need more private sector participation?
A: Mega rail projects require a high level of technology and investments. These projects would prove to be significant to the country as a whole — with technology injection and as an enabler to economic growth. Private participation will mainly happen in infrastructure like manufacturing of rolling stock and signalling solutions.
Q: What would this Budget mean to companies like Bombardier in India?
A: The government is keen on private participation in railways. The demand for rolling stock, high speed loco and Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for inter-city transport will rise. This will create a win-win situation for private players and the Indian Railways. Bombardier is one of the major suppliers of high-speed trains. and, after the Government’s announcement of high-speed routes, we are prepared to make the required investments as and when such projects come up.
Q: What will be the focus area at Bombardier for the current fiscal?
A: Presently, Bombardier is executing an export order from Australia for metro rail cars, manufactured at Savli unit near Vadodara. We are also planning to participate in bidding for metro and monorail car projects in the domestic market. We recently bid for the monorail project in Kerala. We will participate in bidding for the Delhi Metro extension project beside Bangalore Metro, Ahmedabad Metro and Mumbai Monorail.