Seeking larger participation of corporates in the rail sector, railways have decided to set up a separate corporate social responsibility (CSR) cell to rope in more private players.
Addressing a CII summit on CSR, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said, "Railways have a clear cut policy on how CSR funds can be used. We are in the process of creating a CSR cell in railways and there are already many corporates tying up with us."
Prabhu also favoured involvement of corporate sector in national resource management, health care and education in a bigger way.
Highlighting the scope of corporates' participation in railways, Prabhu said the massive footfalls on stations can be turned into big business opportunities.
"There are 8000 stations across the country and about 27 million people use these stations in a day. So look at the footfalls and eyeballs you will have and all these can transform into big business opportunities."
Stressing that corporates making good business is beneficial for both, he said, "If you make more profits then more funds will be available for CSR."
According to the law, companies have to spend 2 per cent of their profits for CSR purpose.
Prabhu said railways has many areas including cleanliness at stations, environment, conservation of water bodies and solar energy where CSR fund can be utilised.
He also said that railways have created a separate environment directorate for promoting green initiatives.
Referring to the depleting ground water level, the Railway Minister said, "Solving water problem is an issue. It is a challenge. It needs long term solution and ideas. Here corporates can help us. The problem can be solved with use of technology."
He also highlighted the role of NGOs in transforming society. "Civil societies have a role in transforming society.