A day after the union cabinet’s decision permitting 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector, railways minister Sadananda Gowda said that “model agreements” and a “sectoral policy” on the engagement with the private and foreign players would shortly be unveiled.
“Foreign players will bring in funds and new technology, which will fast-track big-ticket projects There is no possibility of it being rolled back,” he said.
The decision — which permits railways public sector undertakings to off-load shares to foreign firms — has raised the hackles of rail unions. “A joint meeting of all unions is being scheduled for the month-end to formulate a response in the matter,” said Shiva Gopal Mishra of the All India Railway Men Federation, which claims to represent 11 lakh of the total of approximately 14 lakh employees of the public transporter.
The railway minister reiterated that rail operations and passenger safety had been kept out of the FDI ambit, but the new policy does permit foreign investments in a host of related activities including suburban corridor projects, high speed trains, dedicated freight lines, rolling stock including train sets and locomotives/coaches/wagons, electrification and signalling systems, freight and passenger terminals and infrastructure in industrial parks.
Convening an investor’s meet and organising road shows to attract foreign investments are among plans being worked out, an official said.