Friday, 28 April 2017

Earnings misses, rising debts: Indian Railways turnaround hits buffers

GHAZIABAD, India - India's mammoth state railways, much of them stuck in colonial times, have missed earnings targets for the third straight year and debts have shot up, documents seen by Reuters show, raising doubts about an ambitious modernisation drive. The previously unreported figures will make uncomfortable reading for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the son of a train station tea seller who set out plans to overhaul the world's fourth largest rail network after he took power in 2014.


Modi's $133 billion, five-year programme backed by private and public investment aimed to boost passenger and freight volumes, lay new tracks, introduce modern trains and drive growth to help meet ambitious economic targets. Of that, about $32 billion, or less than 25 percent, was spent in the first two years. Some rail officials say it takes longer for investments to bear fruit, but nearly half way through the plan, the sector's performance has deteriorated according to some key measures.

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