New Delhi: Hardselling Indian Railways as "the perfect destination", Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu On February 5: said its revenue would rise by 50 per cent over the next five years as it scouted for foreign investment.
Addressing India Investment Summit 2016 here, he said India is the "most happening country" in the world at a time when major economies are witnessing a slowdown, which he said makes it all the more compelling to invest in railway.
The Railways, the Minister said, is trying to create a fund, with the World Bank as anchor and pension and sovereign wealth funds as co-investors.
"The Railways is the perfect destination... stream of income is guaranteed. The Railways is being owned by the Government of India. So, the capital is definitely completely safe," Prabhu told the investors.
On revenue growth, the minister is "sure that in next five years, (it) will increase at least by 50 per cent... so, revenues will rise and that will also provide some sort of comfort to investors".
The total earnings of the Indian Railways during in 2014-15 came in at Rs 1,57,880.5 crore as against Rs 1,40,761.27 crore in the previous year, an increase of 12.16 per cent. The proposed fund would invest in projects selected by a professional fund managers, he added.
The funds would be used for modernisation of railway as well. Prabhu laid a premium on infrastructure as the best investment destination in India.
"Infrastructure deficiency in India is pretty large. We have to cover lots of ground, we have not still reached the desired destination of at least 10 per cent of GDP going into infrastructure investment and therefore... we need to put money in infrastructure, maybe even for the next two decades minimum," the minister said.
Investment in railway, Prabhu added, would spur economic growth in India, which means benefits for the global economy as well....