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Prabhu drew attention to the huge investment requirement in Railways

Prabhu  invcnewscomINVC NEWS New Delhi, Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Railways, chaired the first meeting of the newly constituted Advisory Board on financial matters at the Railway Ministry here today. The Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha was specially presented on the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A.K.Mital and Members of the Railway Board, other senior officers of the Ministry and Managing Director, IRFC attended the meeting. The member of the Advisory Committee presented on the occasion were; Shri K.V Kamath, Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd., Ms. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson, SBI, Dr. Rajiv Lall, Executive Chairman, IDFC, and Shri Raghav Bahl, Founder, The Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd. It may be recalled that Minister of Railways, in his reply to the discussion on the Railway Budget in Parliament had announced the setting up of the Advisory Board. The Board consisting of top names of the financial world is expected to guide and advise on matters of sourcing investments into Railway infrastructure development. In his first ever Budget, Shri Prabhu had announced an investment of Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in Railways in the next 5 years. Immediately thereafter, the Ministry signed a MOU with LIC of India for a funding assistance of Rs.1,50,000 crore to be drawn over the next 5 years. The Annual Plan size for 2015-16 was also doubled to cross Rs. 1 lakh figure in 2015-16. Leading the discussion, Minister for Railways drew attention to the huge investment requirement in Railways and the various sources and structures under consideration to mobilize the required resources. A Financial Services Cell has been created in the Ministry to focus on this aspect. He drew attention to the complex task of matching projects with varying levels returns to various sources of finances, all available at various costs. In the ensuing discussion, several suggestions were made by members of the Advisory Board for attracting domestic and international funds, steps required to give comfort to investors/ lenders and to ensure sustainability of the funding models.

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