Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu: Finances under stress, safety cess on passenger fare a possibility

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu: Finances under stress, safety cess on passenger fare a possibility

In the past three years since the NDA government took charge, the ministry of railways has committed and initiated various projects to enhance passenger amenities and augment freight. Some of them are running differentiated trains, latest being Tejas, and doing away with various freight charges. However, the railways’ finances are still under stress with the last financial year’s operating ration hitting a high of 96.9. In an interview with Saurabh Kumar, railway minister Suresh Prabhu elaborates on the way forward. Excerpts:

What more would you have liked to do in the last three years?
We started three years ago on a very scientific method and prepared a white paper on the problems.Then in the two Budgets I presented and the third which was aligned to the first two, we addressed them. We gave an action-taken report on the Budget, and some of the promised actions are in advanced stage of implementation. Of course, I would have been happier if things were done faster.

And to do that we have even delegated powers. We are thinking of giving more and more powers to divisional railway managers. There are a few major functions —corporate planning, raising finance, human resource, internal control and audit, and technology — which should be discharged at the board level, but others can be done at the division level. They are closer to the market, can get more freight for the railways and decide on passenger-related issues faster because they have the power now. Read More…

 

 

Credit By: Financial Express

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