USIBC Honors Indian Railways Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu in Washington DC
Business Leaders Discuss Efforts to Modernize India’s Transportation Infrastructure for Long-term Growth
January 15, 2016 – Washington, DC – The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) honored Railways Minister, Shri Suresh Prabhu at a lunch event in Washington DC. Senior executives representing a cross section of business opportunities that included financial services, manufacturing, and infrastructure met with Minister Prabhu to discuss modernization efforts in Indian railways and rail infrastructure, scoping out investment opportunities and financing mechanisms for the sector as well as the improvements that have taken place in the sector to ensure a level playing field for foreign investors. USIBC members New Silk Route, McLarty Associates, GE, Alcoa, Caterpillar and Microsoft among others met with Minister Prabhu during the roundtable.
Addressing the group of investors and infrastructure companies, Minister Prabhu said, “The Ministry of Railways has introduced a slew of initiatives, opportunities and reform measures that will allow investors to strive and grow. Since the last rail budget in 2015, the Ministry of Railways has implemented 110 reform measures, fulfilling all the announcements made in the budget. We encourage American enterprises to take advantage of the transformation that the entire ecosystem is undergoing. With 100% investment allowed in most segments of railway infrastructure such as suburban rail, metro rail, locomotive and rolling stock, manufacturing and maintenance, signalling and electric works and dedicated freight lines, the Ministry of Railways envisages investments worth $140 billion in the sector that will not only bring about more efficiency in the lifeline of Indian transportation but also boost manufacturing and fulfil the directive of Make of India.”
Lauding Minister Prabhu’s determination to overhaul India’s rail infrastructure, USIBC President Mukesh Aghi said, “In less than 2 years, Minister Prabhu has undertaken serious efforts to give a facelift to the Indian railways and revolutionize the way Indians travel, transport goods and services and conduct business. USIBC members are buoyed by the range of opportunities that lie in front of them. Whether it is adding high speed rails connecting major ports, modernizing platforms, improving passenger amenities dedicated freight lines, electrification— these are concerted efforts by the government to improve the performance of the railways through substantive restructuring so the sector can contribute to the overall growth of the country.”
Optimistic and appreciative of Prime Minister Modi’s pro-growth initiatives, Parag Saxena, founding general partner and CEO of New Silk Route welcomed the focus on expanding and modernizing the Indian railway through swift financing and private sector involvement. He said, “This surge in investment in the railway infrastructure, led by the dynamic Minister of Railways, will unleash many innovations in telecom, media and technology sectors as well as in other consumer services like F&B/catering and travel related offerings. "
"Suresh Prabhu proved his mettle by introducing critical reforms in the power sector during the earlier NDA government. In many ways, India's railway system is the lifeblood of its economy. I cannot think of a stronger leader to modernize and build out this system," said Richard Rossow, Director, India and South Asia, McLarty Associates.
About U.S. - India Business Council:
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 350 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.