In this fiscal, we may be able to earn ₹15,000- ₹20,000 cr from the passenger segment, based on the coronavirus situation.
Indian Railways has been facing a challenging year because of the coronavirus outbreak. With passenger revenues hit by the limited train services in the first quarter of the fiscal, the national transporter is pinning hopes on an increase in freight revenue and lower expenditure to match last year’s operating ratio.
Plans are being finalized for private firms to run freight trains on dedicated freight corridors, Railway Board chairman Vinod Yadav said in an interview. Also, for the first time, 150 modern passenger trains will be launched by private companies in the next three years. The private sector will also take part in the redevelopment and transformation of railway stations into commercial hubs. Edited excerpts:
There has been a rising focus on diversifying infrastructure financing models, with asset monetization being one of them. What is the plan of Indian Railways in this regard?
Let me give you a macro picture. There is a lot of thrust on infrastructure development and modernization of our network. The infrastructure pipeline capital expenditure for the next five years is around ₹13.6 trillion. Of this, financing for ₹10 trillion has been frozen. This also includes work on the dedicated freight corridor and the bullet train project.
The second type of finance is through extra budgetary resources, borrowing from those Indian Railway Finance Corp. projects where the rate of return is more than 12%.
The third type of projects involve those of national importance, such as the ones in Jammu and Kashmir, and improving connectivity with the northeastern part of the country. These projects don’t have a rate of return and are being implemented as they will improve the condition of people staying in such areas.
The fourth type is asset monetization. Railways has taken two initiatives.