India: Rail Industry Sets Agenda for Government

Alstom said that railways can be at the forefront of providing fillip to the central government’s Make in India programme, incentivising foreign investments and delivering a big boost to the economy

NEW DE;LHI/MINT : Global mobility major Alstom expects the Indian government to maintain focus on infrastructure development in the upcoming budget with higher allocation for capital expenditure.

Alain Spohr, Managing Director, Alstom India & South Asia, said the expectation of higher capital expenditure (capex) is in line with the priority accorded to infrastructure projects by the government such as the National Infrastructure Pipeline and PM Gati Shakti (National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity).

“An enhanced capital outlay to encourage railway modernisation plans for creation of infrastructure as well as replacing railway passenger and freight fleets would be ideal. Special emphasis on multi-modal connectivity with enhanced opportunities under PPP mode is expected to boost activity in this sector,” Spohr said, detailing his expectations from the Union Budget for 2022-23.

Alstom also said that railways can be at the forefront of providing fillip to the  central government’s Make in India programme, incentivising foreign investments and delivering a big boost to the economy.

“We are positive that this year’s budget will be as progressive as last year’s, where the government allocated a record sum for capital expenditure,” Spohr said.

“We agree with the finance minister that connectivity is the essence of the economy and improving intercity connectivity is critical for the formation of smart cities and boosting the pace and volume of economy. We are expecting additional support for introduction of new technologies such as Metro Lite and Metro Neo for promoting mobility in Tier II & III cities,” he added.

The company, which has big presence in railway and metro transport networks, is hopeful that the government will improve on the ease of doing business in India as there is a huge potential for growth.

Introducing production-linked incentives for rail infrastructure manufacturers and exporters promoting Make-in-India will be encouraging, along with fast-tracking implementation of projects and supporting the manufacturing ecosystem, Spohr said.

Certainty in policy and adequate government support for project execution can vastly improve private investment in the sector, he said.

With the ambition to become the largest green railways in the world, moving towards achieving net zero carbon emission, “we are hopeful that measures to promote energy efficient and carbon-friendly technologies, processes and practices will feature in the upcoming budget,” the company said on its expectations from Budget 2022-23.

Promoting a level playing field for original domestic as well as foreign companies, which have invested substantially in India and contribute towards economic growth, will attract additional investments into the country. The government must consider supporting companies that are significantly invested in India, conducting cutting- edge R&D and executing large railway development projects to come forward and make India an export hub, Alstom said.

These measures will help India become self reliant, or atmanirbhar, and achieve its aspiration of becoming a $5 trillion economy, Spohr added.

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