Indian Railways, in a first, will be forming joint ventures with state governments to garner resources for building rail infrastructure in states to expedite land acquisition and improve connectivity for transporting steel, cement and other products.

The rail transporter will be contributing a maximum of Rs 50 crore towards paid up capital for each state.

The decision was taken by the union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 30 December, a government statement said.

Each joint venture will have an initial paid up capital of Rs 100 crore, while subsequent infusion of capital would be taken up after approval of the project.

The arrangement will also provide for equity participation by banks, ports, mining companies and other public sector companies, the statement added.

Indian Railways had about 13 lakh employees on its roll at the beginning of the current financial year. 

The department had earned about Rs 78,951 crore during the first six months of the current financial year, up 8.96% from Rs 73,140 crore during the corresponding period last year; 67% of its earnings came from freight, while passengers contributed 28% to the revenues, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said in a statement earlier.