Recent rounds of news indicate that the Ministry of Railways is considering proposing a hike in passenger fares in the Rail Budget 2014-15 slated to be presented by D V Sadananda Gowda, Minister for Railways, Government of India.
A senior Railway Ministry official informed that the hike in both passenger fare and freight rate is inevitable as the financial position of railways is not so good. However, the quantum of hike is yet to be finalised.
Mr. Sachin Karpe informs that the announcement of the fare hike can happen before or after the Budget. However, people should be read to accept the raised ticket cost if they are looking forward for an improvement in Rail infrastructure.
Mr. Karpe also reminded about the unchanged passenger fares in the interim Railway Budget by the earlier government. The announcement on increase in both passenger fares and freight rates by 14.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively was likely to happen on May 16 by the Railways. The change in fare was supposed to be effective from May 20. But, the decision was kept on hold by the previous ministry for undisclosed reason.
If the old Government would have implemented the price hike, Railways would have garnered Rs 8000 crore through both the passenger and freight charges, indicates
Mr. Sachin Karpe. Analyzing the current scenario, it is believed that Railways is facing severe financial crunch with passenger subsidy touching Rs 26,000 crore.
With the present situation, Mr. Sachin Karpe reveals that shortage of financial resources is a key constraint to Railways following the desired path. Adding the focus of the Rail Budget, the ministry is likely to give priority to safety, security and service.
Besides, the national transporter will also update its signaling system and improvement the tracks to prevent accidents with the funds collected. Railways have targeted to improve this to 89.8 per cent in 2014-15.
Know more about Mr. Sachin Karpe at http://sachinkarpe.co.in and his blog post at http://karpesachin.info