State-owned Indian Railways is planning to announce quarterly financial results, similar to listed companies, to enable raising of funds in a big way.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said last Friday that announcing quarterly results "is one of the changes that the state-run monopoly is planning."
By doing so, the world's fourth largest rail network intends to bring in more transparency in its financial operations.
At present, information on accounts related to the Railways is announced in the annual railway budget.
The move to announce the financial results on a quarterly basis is primarily aimed at raising big investments, The Economic Times reported.
"Quarterly numbers from railways is better than the annual budget, which is an anomaly and a hangover of the British raj," said Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman of Feedback Infra.
"Quarterly numbers would be effective if they comprise operating numbers, capex and review of other special initiatives like installing bio-toilets and update on various schemes and so on."
Prabhu said that the railways has surpassed the targets set for the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
The railways will see "the next big wave of investment in the country after power and telecom," he said.
"Prabhu's assurance that railways will give out quarterly numbers will definitely boost investor confidence as it is the bare minimum for the sake of greater transparency," said Alok Churiwala, spokesperson, BSE Brokers Forum.
Cash-starved Indian Railways is planning to raise $120 billion over the next five years to fund its ambitious projects.
"Giving out quarterly results was a good step for bringing transparency but a small part of the big picture," said Ajay Shah, professor at the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy.