Union Minister Kalraj Mishra on Saturday termed the hike in train fare as a step taken under “extreme compulsion”, but said the government was working to find a solution to compensate its economic effect.
In a pre-budget move, cash-strapped railways on Friday effected a steep across-the-board hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares in all classes and a 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates to garner Rs 8000 crore a year.
“This hike is due to extreme compulsion, but some solution will be worked out to compensate the possibility of rise in inflation due to hike in railway fare. Efforts will be made that inflation does not rise,” Kalraj told reporters here.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley backed Mishra saying that the “Railway Minister has taken a difficult but correct decision to hike fare and freight charges.”
“India must decide whether it wants a world-class railway or a ramshackled one,” said Jaitley.
On a question regarding hike in rail fare amidst speculations of rise in cooking gas, petrol and diesel prices Mishra said, “We have just come into power. Criticising the working of the previous government on everything is not right, but the manner in which situation had emerged some harsh steps have to be taken.”
“But while taking harsh measures, some arrangements have to made in future to coordinate between the two so that inflation can be controlled in time to come. Meetings of different ministries are being held under Union Finance Minister in this direction. Some solution will definitely be worked out,” Mishra added.
Mishra said that ongoing crisis in Iraq was creating a big hurdle in controlling inflation.
“It is a big reason,” he said, adding as per the situation so far the government works according to the plan prepared by
the Planning Commission.
“We are a federal government so we have to look that interest of the states were not affected,” he said.
Regarding law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, the union minister said that it was very bad.
“Law and order has collapsed and development has come to a standstill. Several things have been curtailed in the state budget presented yesterday. Recently UP CM met the Prime Minister. I don’t know the details, but the PM would have said to control the situation,” he said.
On being asked whether the centre would intervene Kalraj said, “It’s a constitutional government. The Governor sends its report to the centre and any consideration is done by the cabinet on its basis.”
He said that the state was being asked repeatedly to control the situation.
“This is not right that we demand dismissal of a government while being in power,” he said on being asked that the BJP in past had been demanding dismissal of Akhilesh Yadav government.
On the issue of Union Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilisers he said,”It is 101 per cent wrong.”
Regarding 100 days agenda for his ministry Kalraj said,”There was nothing like 100 days. I don’t know from where it came.”
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.