Railway Minister to meet BFSI Heads in Mumbai today

Suresh Prabhu to hold closed door meeting at BSE with Financial Market players today

BFSI SectorMumbai: Ministry of Railways are convening a meeting in Mumbai on Friday with representatives of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) to sensitize the finance community of emerging investment opportunities in the Railway Sector.

Leading investment bankers, stock brokers and economists have been invited for the meeting.  This is a follow up on the Banks’ and Financial Institutions’ Conclave held in Delhi on July 21.

Railway Minister who is expecting a whopping investment of $120 billion in next five years for railways, may seek discussion on innovating ways to finance the cash-strapped national transporter. A PIB release said, “The meeting of senior railway officials with Heads and CEOs of FIs and a few corporates is being organized at the initiative of the Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu who had in his maiden Railway Budget unveiled massive investment plans for strengthening and modernizing the key Railway infrastructure in the country.”

Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu, Chairman/Railway Board Mr.Mittal and Indian Railways Financial Commissioner are scheduled to address the meeting.

The meeting is being held in Mumbai this time to increase exposure and visibility to the investment plan of Railways. The Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) which is the financial intermediary for the Railways is co-hosting the meeting.

Indian Railways has not got any big investment for the in last 20-25 years but huge fund flow is expected as government has allowed FDI in certain segments like coach manufacturing, station development, suburban rail and high-speed network. Key area where huge money could be mobilised by government is Prabhu’s idea to modernisation of 400 railway stations through open bids. This could see huge corporate interest.

A study of country’s major railway stations like Sealdah and Howrah show that thousands of crores of rupees flow via small businesses on railway platforms. Most of this money is unaccounted for and the government gets no share of it. Also, many stall operators and book sellers of major railway stations have been getting the government contract continuously for many years. The railway minister now plans to change such norms and raise funds through PPP route.

“Prabhu mainly wants to assess the investor sentiment and psyche to know how effectively the investments could flow and what are the various models that should be followed,” said a banker who has been invited for the meet.