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Railways planning FDI route for High-Speed trains: Gowda

The Modi government is planning to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) into railways to finance its ambitious plans to modernize the sector. At present, there is a complete ban on any kind of FDI in railways except mass rapid transport systems.
Railways minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday said the government is short of resources and some resource mobilization should be taken as a priority.
“I want to have discussion with commerce minister Nirmala Seethraman, who has asked me to come up with proposals… I think in 3-4 days we will come to a conclusion,” said Mr. Gowda.
Modernization and revamping of railways is the top infrastructure agenda of the government, which wants to build a Diamond Quadrilateral project of high-speed trains and a network of freight corridors over the next few years. These projects require very large capital investments.
According to Press Trust of India, the Commerce and Industry Ministry has started the exercise to relax foreign investment norms in the railways sector by permitting 100 per cent FDI in high-speed train systems and dedicated freight lines.
Besides high-speed train systems and dedicated freight lines, there is also a proposal to allow foreign investment in sub-urban corridors and freight lines connecting ports, mines and power installations, sources said. However, existing passenger and freight network operations will not be opened to foreign investors, the sources said.
The move to liberalize investment in railways comes after a similar decision was taken to allow 100 per cent FDI in the defence sector.
The UPA government had also tried to relax FDI norms in railways but could not push the proposal because of the general elections.

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