NEW DELHI– Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is currently on a three-day tour of the US capital on the request of the World Bank, the railways ministry said in a statement here on Friday.

He is to deliver an address at the plenary session on the World Bank Conference on “Transport and Cities – Key Drivers for Meeting Climate Goals”, the statement said.

Suresh Prabhu
Suresh Prabhu

Apart from this, his tour involves a number of seminars, conference, meetings and events, it added.

At an event on Thursday evening at Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Prabhu said the Indian government wants to make infrastructure growth a priority, where transportation would be the key element of development and growth of the country.

“A proper sustainable transportation sector has potential to play a key role in India’s economic growth including removal of social disparity, help reduce global greenhouse gas emission,” he said.

“I do not think India can achieve higher economic growth unless we put in place a strong transportation sector,” he added.

Prabhu, who is scheduled to meet US Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez, during his current visit, said India wants to involve the US in its modernisation of the railways.

Noting that globally railways derive more than 30 percent of its income from non-railway operations, he said the modernisation of India’s railway stations and railway real estate is a step in that direction.

“As of now Indian Railways earns less than one percent of its income from non-railway operations,” he said.