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Railways to offer surplus land to states for setting up industries: Piyush Goyal

Union Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal. (PTI)Premium
Union Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal. (PTI)

  • The decision was taken as part of the government’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ programme, said Goyal
  • Goyal said he had held meetings with central and state officials exploring ways of boosting manufacturing activities and exports

New Delhi: Railways and commerce minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that the Railways will offer its surplus land to state governments at fair market value for setting up industries for faster economic development.

The decision was taken as part of the government’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ programme, Goyal said here at a conference organized by the commerce ministry and the Confederation of Indian Industry where he released the recommendations of a 12-member expert panel on trade led by economist Surjit Bhalla. The panel was set up by the ministry.

Goyal said he had held meetings with central and state officials exploring ways of boosting manufacturing activities and exports, which is key to doubling the size of the domestic economy to $5 trillion over the next few years.

For this, he said, an accelerated programme was needed. “We have got many suggestions. One of the suggestions I have accepted is the use of public sector land for industrial activity and industrial growth. Railways has huge plots of surplus land which we are willing to offer to the governments at a fair market value so that it can help in faster economic development in various states," the minister said.

On trade negotiations, the minister said that India was in talks with the US on various issues and that the country has to explore new opportunities. However, India will not sign new free trade deals in a rush without broad-based consultations with the industry, he said. “The new EU commission is being formed. Soon after that, we will engage with the EU to start discussions on a free trade deal with them," he said adding that discussions with Britain would start after Brexit.

The expert panel on trade, the report of which was released on Wednesday, recommended that cost of capital should be reduced for businesses, the investment promotion ecosystem in the country should be strengthened and an overall trade promotion organization has to be set up. It also recommended that a world class war-room for single window clearance has to be set up. The panel also made specific measures to support agriculture, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors.

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