Indian Railways Development Fund
Indian Railways Development FundReuters File

Indian Railways has approached the World Bank to examine the possibility of setting up a Railways Infrastructure Development Fund, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told Parliament Wednesday.

"The World Bank has taken up a detailed scoping and options study for creating such a fund," Prabhu was quoted as saying in the Lok Sabha by the Press Trust of India.

He also said the government has now allowed 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in rail sectors such as construction, operation and maintenance of suburb corridors, and coach manufacturing and maintenance facilities. 

The minister said other areas where 100 percent FDI was permitted included electrification, signalling systems, freight terminals, passenger terminals, infrastructure and transportation system.

On Tuesday, Prabhu implemented two promises he made while presenting the Rail Budget. Bar-coding of unreserved tickets was launched at various counters in New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin railway stations.

A rail auto hub was also inaugurated in Waljabad in the Chennai Division of Southern Railways, the Economic Times reported. 

Railways has embarked on an ambitious capex plan of Rs 8.5 lakh crore, as was announced by Prabhu in his previous Rail Budget. In the FY2017 Rail Budget presented Feb. 25, he announced a capital outlay at Rs 1.21 lakh crore, 20 percent higher than FY2016.

To garner funds for the various rail infra projects, he announced state-insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has agreed to lend Rs 1.5 lakh crore to Indian Railways over five years on "favourable terms."