New Delhi, Aug. 23: The opening up of railway infrastructure to foreign direct investment could attract $10 billion in the next five years, according to government estimates.
“According to initial estimates, FDI investment in railway infrastructure could attract up to $10 billion over the next five years. However, the success of the move would be in the framing of the guidelines to attract global players,” a senior Railway Board official said.
Officials said the railways would soon come out with sectoral guidelines to attract investments in different projects.
The proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor and the construction of an exclusive rail corridor for freight movement are likely to speed up with the cabinet allowing 100 per cent FDI in rail infrastructure.
With this policy change, FDI can be brought into high-speed train systems, freight terminals, building of rail links, electrification and signalling systems. A notification will have to be issued for the exact terms and conditions.
The policy change will also permit investments in manufacturing, construction and maintenance, which will be spread over 20-30 years. There are already private investments in rail-based industries such as metro coaches, wagons and wheel manufacturing units.
FDI will also be allowed in suburban corridors and dedicated freight lines that are to be executed under the public-private partnership mode.
Officials indicated that companies like Canada’s Bombardier, General Electric of the US and Germany’s Siemens have shown interest in investing in India.
Ficci president Sidharth Birla said, “This measure has happened at a time when the existing network and the railways need funds to modernise.”