Govt hikes railway fares by 14.2 pc, freight charges increased by 6.5 pc

The NDA government has taken the unpopular decision of hiking railway passenger fare.

By: Express News Service Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: June 21, 2014 10:22 am
Sources indicated that the fare hikes could be announced even before the railway budget. (Source: Express archive) Sources indicated that the fare hikes could be announced even before the railway budget. (Source: Express archive)

Six days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in Goa on the need to take “tough decisions” to revive the economy, the government on Friday approved a steep hike in the train fares and freight rates. Effective from June 25, fares of all classes are set to rise by 14.2 per cent, while the freight rates will go up by 6.5 per cent.

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had sought the approval of Modi to roll out the “unpopular move” barely a couple of weeks before the government’s first rail budget. Gowda had also made a case for the hike to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this week.

As much as 4.2 per cent of the fare hike is on account of a variable Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC) approved in last year’s rail budget. The remaining 10 per cent is a flat hike across all classes. Similarly, freight rates will have a five per cent hike flat over and above a 1.4 per cent of the FAC.

Railways had pressed Gowda to seek a subsidy from the government if it was “politically inconvenient” at present to give a green signal to the hike.

It had become a political decision since the last government had prevented the proposal of this very hike to be rolled out on May 16, the day of the election results that brought in the regime change. But the problem before the railways was that the expected mop-up due from the hike — around Rs 10,000 crore — had already been factored into the interim rail budget passed in Parliament before elections.

It was understood within the railways that the hike would be automatic, and that was why the decision to effect the hike was announced without asking Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on May 16 and then quickly withdrawn hours later following Kharge’s objection.

“I have merely withdrawn the earlier government’s decision to withhold the fare revision on May 16,” Gowda told The Indian Express when contacted. “I am ready to face the brickbats.”

Railways’ subsidy to passenger operations has touched Rs 26,000 crore and its ordinary working expenses have been mounting on account of fuel bill and salary. The two take away almost Rs 70 of every Rs 100 earned by the national transporter.

The opposition parties have slammed the move, saying it bypasses Parliament by not introducing the fare hike in the rail budget. The Congress tweeted a screenshot of a tweet by Modi, who as the Gujarat chief minister a year ago, had criticised the then Railway Minister Pawan Bansal’s decision to hike fares after 16 years before the rail budget. “Just before rail budget UPA has suddenly increased railway freight rates bypassing Parliament. Wrote to PM against this,” Modi had tweeted on March 7, 2013.

“After coming into government, without taking Parliament into confidence and without bringing out a white paper… , they have gone ahead and increased rail tariffs by 14 per cent,” Congress leader Manish Tewari was quoted by PTI as saying.

“Those who till yesterday were talking about ‘aam aadmi’ and how his concerns should be addressed, have now started doing the opposite by imposing as much burden as they can on the so-called ‘aam aadmi’ who voted them to power,” he said.

The Left parties slammed the Prime Minister for his “reward” to the people. “We strongly condemn the unprecedented hike in railway fare. This is going to be a huge burden on the people at a time when they are already battling relentless price rise,” CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat said. “It is criminal. We demand its reversal.”

Trinamool Congress spokesman Derek O’Brien said: “Is this a super rail budget before the rail budget? The common man is already burdened, now he will be over-burdened.”

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. A
    Anil Sabaji
    Jun 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm
    It is unfortunate that people of India thought better days will just come by itself without any sacrifice. How can Railway improve without people contribution and cooperation. Only thing I expect from Modi Govt is a corruption free administration where every paise paid by us reaches the rightful place. If this wish comes true then the good days are not far away.
    Reply
    1. B
      Bharath
      Jun 22, 2014 at 3:19 am
      i didnt understand what you are trying to say....but NDA regime days are better then any given UPA regime days or AAP regime in delhi..
      Reply
      1. A
        Anand
        Jun 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm
        Thank you Modiji
        Reply
        1. A
          Angshuman Tamuli
          Jun 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm
          achche din ka maza lo
          Reply
          1. A
            Anil Gudhekar
            Jun 21, 2014 at 3:58 am
            Must have to hikes in Budget session as our country is democratic & having budgetary system & to show the difference from UPA.
            Reply
            1. R
              Reddy
              Jun 27, 2014 at 10:17 am
              How can you belive that a corruption free admin will he is follwoing the same as UPA govt
              Reply
              1. R
                Reddy
                Jun 27, 2014 at 7:05 am
                If you have more money give it ti the govt every month will you do you will not but y should a person earning 5000 per month and in that he need to maintain the famly and travel how do he go by that???
                Reply
                1. R
                  Reddy
                  Jun 27, 2014 at 7:11 am
                  No body is asking for free patter but if we see all these years the prices have come up double already every common man is suffering they thought new govt will do some favour to reduce the prices but in a month it also increased this becoming more burden every politician is taking money to his hands y dont you blame them you blaming the common man to get free patter??????
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Reddy
                    Jun 27, 2014 at 10:22 am
                    No need to oppose for anything any raise in prices or corruption anything then y did u opposing previous govt.. it also did the same rising prices ?????
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Reddy
                      Jun 27, 2014 at 7:16 am
                      People are the sufferrers if any govt comes nothing will happen a change will thats the fate of a coomon man
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Reddy
                        Jun 27, 2014 at 7:02 am
                        The fare in hike will not effect previous govt persons or any politicians it will effect the life of a common man
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Reddy
                          Jun 27, 2014 at 7:00 am
                          You may have more than enough money what about the common man who is earning 2000 per month and need to travel far and in that he need to maintain his family. not only the fare is hiked the other freight charges also increased due to this how many persons will suffer if you are rich y cant you spend a rupee to poor guys every month.if you are rich and you can spend as much as but what about the common man out of 100% 20% are rich and 80% are common man how do we satisy their needs
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Reddy
                            Jun 27, 2014 at 7:02 am
                            when the previous govt done the same thing everyone said it will be a burden to common man now ???? it is for development for whom????
                            Reply
                            1. B
                              bibhu
                              Jun 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm
                              Do the penger services or the state of affairs in railway improve with hike in fares? The reserved non-AC sleeper cles are no more suitable to travel with family. The food became terribly bad over last few years even the prices are doubled.
                              Reply
                              1. V
                                V.Lokesh
                                Jun 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm
                                Sir,Nothing wrong in price hike comparing the bus fare we end up paying.Janshatabdi are much cheaper than an ordinary bus.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Ahmed Raheal
                                  Jun 21, 2014 at 6:59 am
                                  Rightly as Congress was doing in name of reality shunning populism? ---- ???? BJP and Congress faces of the same coin as Kejriwal had opined long back? Congress has been standing for better services in Railway and BJP too as of now. BJP should be wise to hike too much beyond approach of common men and Railway will be clean itself devoid of people. Best solution by BJP? HURRY UP.
                                  Reply
                                  1. E
                                    Era
                                    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm
                                    Getting a train ticket, especially during holidays, without paying extra has become next to impossible. Total tout business for Tatkal scheme is of around 1000 Crore in a year. No body will mind price hike if ticket availability and quality of service is ensured.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      supporter
                                      Jun 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm
                                      thank you modiji, you are the man we needed!
                                      Reply
                                      1. G
                                        gpunch
                                        Jun 21, 2014 at 7:35 am
                                        a 1000 km journey on indian rail in 3 AC costs Rs 1000, i.e. one rupee per kilometre ! this is cheaper than any mode of transpost we have available today . how much more cheaper do we want the fares !?Go ahead Prime Minister Modi , we need a man like you who has guts to take the tough decisions !Indian Express has a policy of deleting pro Modi comments, lets see if the 'journalism of courage' is still alive !
                                        Reply
                                        1. N
                                          Nobis
                                          Jun 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm
                                          Fare hike should be ok so long as services are improved.We are too used to subsidies.Subsidies and appeasing will take the country down.
                                          Reply
                                          1. A
                                            AAN
                                            Jun 23, 2014 at 5:52 am
                                            yes, all those coal scams, telecom scams, corruption, muslim appeat of UPA is definitely better than an efficient NDA right?go do your propaa somewhere else muslim terrorist
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments