New Delhi: The government is planning to offload its stake in certain profit-making infrastructure companies of the Indian Railways, a move that will help such companies to get listed on stock exchanges as well as raise funds for the exchequer.

“We are in talks with the Railway Board for sale of government equity in certain PSUs (public sector undertakings) managed by Indian Railways," a person close to the matter told PTI .

“The disinvestment will be a part of the government exercise to engage private players in ancillary services as part of overall agenda," the person added.

There are about half a dozen companies that are managed by the railways. These include RITES Ltd, Ircon International Ltd, Indian Railway Finance Corp. Ltd (IRFC), Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC), and RailTel Corp. of India Ltd.

Since these companies are not listed, it is likely that an initial public offering (IPO) will accompany the government’s offloading of its stake.

The railways, which is facing a cash crunch, is looking at various ways to mobilize resources for undertaking an expansion programme.

The government has already pitched for reforms in the railways by proposing foreign direct investment (FDI) and public private partnerships (PPPs) to meet the resource crunch.

The finance ministry plans to raise 43,425 crore through disinvestment in PSUs in the current fiscal.

A host of companies have been lined up by the disinvestment department as candidates for stake sale. These include Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), NHPC Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC) and Power Finance Corp. Ltd (PFC).

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