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Sadananda Gowda's proposal to introduce FDI in Railways sparks debate; criticised for changing stance

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 - 3:11pm IST | Agency: DNA Webdesk
  • PTI

Going against the popular party opinion on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, in his maiden budget, recommended opening the sector to FDIs.

Admitting that all the grand plans and proposals by the Budget needed more resources than what is already at the disposal of the Indian Railways, he suggested considering alternate means. The Golden Quadrilateral Network would require Rs 9 lakh crore to complete while Rs 60,000 crore would be needed for introducing one bullet train alone, Gowda informed. “Can I depend only on hiking fare and freight rates and burden the public to realise these funds? This is unrealistic. I need to explore the alternate means of resource mobilisation,” he said.

Gowda insisted that growth depends heavily on availability of funds for investment in rail infrastructure. FDI will be limited to infrastructure development and not allowed in operations, he added.

However, his bold move to defy party norms, considering that the Home Ministry had already dismissed the idea of FDI in Railways, earned him ire of supporters and opposition alike.

Gowda had even proposed to launch a scheme to bring in investible surplus funds of railway PSUs in infrastructure projects which can generate attractive returns. However, this too, has failed to attract much support.‚Äč


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