NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Thursday said that the Centre is planning to complete the process of privatisation of trains by the end of December.
In an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18, he said, "The target is to complete the train privatisation process by December-end. We have received interest from 45 players at Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stage. We hope to conclude the bidding process for private trains by December-end." He added that RFQs for 10 stations have already been floated.
In July, the Narendra Modi government had invited RFQs for private players for the operation of passenger train services on 109 Origin Destination (OD) pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains. The Railways had picked about 100 routes to run 150 private passenger trains in December last year.
"Privatisation entities will source and operate private trains using Indian infrastructure. Privatisation of train routes will be a path-breaking initiative. Huge responses have been received from foreign and domestic players. Routes are attractive from the wealth creation point of view," he added.
Talking about the economic situation days after India's GDP nosedived by almost a quarter, he said, "The pandemic has had an impact globally. Global economy has already been impacted by over 7.5 per cent vs 1 per cent in GFC. The first job of the government was to save lives of individuals, therefore the lockdown. I am quite sure that we will get out of this situation."
"We are seeing normalcy with respect to people starting to operate manufacturing units and companies working. States have gradually understood that we need to unlock to bring back normalcy," he added.
About the umbrella PLI scheme drafted by NITI Aayog, he said, "Each sector will have a different PLI under the broad policy. One umbrella PLI scheme will be moved for cabinet approval. Every sector will have to have a different PLI scheme. This is an opportunity for us to carry out a lot of reforms. We have worked on PLI scheme for 15 odd sectors; will further shortlist to 9-10.
The sectors where the PLI scheme is likely to get approved include specialty chemicals, capital goods, technology products, white goods, networking products, automobiles and auto components, textiles, food processing and advanced battery cells.
These nine sectors are in addition to the two sectors -- API and medical devices and mobile and electronic equipment -- where the government has already announced PLI schemes.
"We are at a fairly advanced stage on the PLI schemes. Each ministry will be designing the PLI scheme in consultation. Have done the homework and have clarity on areas where India can compete. The objective is to get everyone to compete in the global market," he added.