UPA factored in fare hike in interim Railway Budget, but did not say so in Parliament

‘The decision to not spell out the hike was a political one. Budget documents had all the calculations’ Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Updated: June 22, 2014 10:53 am
Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda said, “I am merely implementing the decision taken by the previous government.” Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda said, “I am merely implementing the decision taken by the previous government.”

The UPA’s weakness on reforms is demonstrated in the manner in which it tried to effect the critical hike in railway fares: raising them by stealth without actually talking about it in Parliament.

On Friday, hours after the Narendra Modi government took the first of the “tough decisions” that the Prime Minister had spoken of earlier, Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda said, “I am merely implementing the decision taken by the previous government.”

Gowda’s predecessor Mallikarjun Kharge had built the anticipated mop-up from the raised fares into the interim budget accounting for this financial year. But he did not mention in his speech that the hikes would come in a few months, and that the political green signal for the reform had already been received.

“The decision to not spell out the hike was a political one. Budget documents tabled in Parliament had all the  calculations mentioned in them,” Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, told The Sunday Express.

The Budget’s Statement of Revenue Receipts and Expenditure shows that for 2014-15, the Railways projected earnings of Rs 1,60,775 crore, which was Rs 20,000 crore more than last fiscal’s estimates.

From carrying passengers alone, it projected an earning of around Rs 8,000 crore more than the last fiscal, to reach a figure of Rs 45,255 crore, despite falling short of last Budget’s estimates by Rs 4,700 crore in the financial year ended March 31, 2014.

According to the Railway Board, Friday’s 14.2 per cent increase in passenger fares, along with the 6.5 per cent increase in freight rates, is expected to generate an extra Rs 9,000-10,000 crore this financial year. This money is not over and above the budget estimates, but is a component of the estimates.

Notably, since last year, the number of passenger bookings has seen a decline, so in the absence of the real reason being spelt out, such projections were at that time described as “optimistic”.

In the evening of February 13, the day of the interim rail budget, asked about the “unusual” increase in its projections for the next fiscal, Railway Board chairman Arunendra Kumar had told The Indian Express: “We believe the economy to look up next year and business to pick up, going by trends of the last three months. The projections about earnings are hence the way they are.”

On Saturday, Kumar said, “Budget is prepared for the whole year. Everything is mentioned. The increase in earnings was factored into it when presented in Parliament, only the hike was to be implemented in May. Thanks to the Model Code of Conduct it could not be done before May 16. Around 4.2 per cent hike is a revision on account of a fuel adjustment component, which we have been carrying out since last year.”

Speaking to reporters on Saturday morning in Gulbarga, Kharge questioned the Modi government’s decision to “hike fares suddenly”, PTI reported. Kharge, who was in Telangana until late in the evening, could not be reached over the phone for a comment.

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First Published on: June 22, 2014 1:43 am
  1. R
    Ram
    Jun 22, 2014 at 1:14 am
    How come the previous Congress Govt included the revenues of Railway fare increase in the budget but didn't spell it out. This is clear case of cheating on the public.
    Reply
    1. K
      KrishnaBhagawan
      Jun 23, 2014 at 6:59 am
      Where is the source of these numbers ?
      Reply
      1. K
        KrishnaBhagawan
        Jun 24, 2014 at 10:45 am
        Who Rakesh Mittal ? seriously...:P
        Reply
        1. T
          Tamilan
          Jun 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm
          if BJP can rollback so many policies of Congress, then why cant the new railway minister rollback the proposed hike of rail fare ? It seems BJP is much worse than Congress and soon people will teach you lessons in coming embly elections to cut you guys in size.
          Reply
          1. A
            Anil Gudhekar
            Jun 22, 2014 at 1:54 am
            Rly is one of the most currupt Dept thats why most wanted, so by avoiding this there is possibility to develop rly without hike in fare. & to respect Democracy & show BJP is differ than others ,they have to Hike in Parliament.
            Reply
            1. S
              Sane
              Jun 23, 2014 at 4:10 am
              Congress policies have made everyone a beggar. Literally and mentally. Literally Indians are poor. And mentally, by looking at the postings here, educated people are demanding that fares be rolled back, fully realizing that the budget would then be subsidized to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore by "others". Like a beggar, but demanding that they be given the money.
              Reply
              1. S
                Santano Fernandes
                Jun 22, 2014 at 2:40 am
                For what reason you are elected, Don't talk like a child, you have to do your work and not carry bad what others were doing. These are all liars and will not be able to do anything simply ping the buck and showing others in poor light, The minister should remember that Indian citizens are educated and if he thinks that he is talking to illiterate people then he is wrong except the media who is just publishing and supporting wrong people and as Ex-Justice Katju said they are really the one,
                Reply
                1. S
                  Shrinath
                  Jun 23, 2014 at 10:22 am
                  Central railway not in profit but in huge loss
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Swamy
                    Jun 22, 2014 at 3:00 am
                    Kharge was a temporary rail minister appointed by sonia after Bansal was shunted out.It was Manmohan Singh the PM who deceived the nation not only on rail fares but on coal allotment,spectrum ,CWG and nuke deals.He is silent but has a criminal mind.Nation paid for allowing him to be PM for a second term.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Rameswar Pattanayak
                      Jun 23, 2014 at 2:31 am
                      Railways can look out for earning more from it's non performing ets. For example, it should de-link parcel services from penger trains by increasing it's parcel service exclusive's frequency. Adding a reserved section to all penger trains with Sleeper, 3AC and AC/NonAC chair cars. Allow all the penger trains not stand on any station for more than 5 minutes. This will certainly increase the revenue earning of railways manyfold.
                      Reply
                      1. N
                        namo
                        Jun 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm
                        Another bad decision of UPA that we must suffer. This is our punishment of keeping UPA in power for so long. Lesson learnt - UPA NEVER AGAIN!!
                        Reply
                        1. P
                          Purna Rath
                          Jun 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm
                          At least the UPA people must not oppose the fare hike as it was projected in the budget. After all, the Railway fares are low and it required some correction to provide more amenities to the public.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Ravi
                            Jun 21, 2014 at 11:01 pm
                            Unfortunately, there is no punishment for such shenanigans. From the comments of Mr. Kharge, it is clear that Congress politicians do not place much value on ethics or personal character.
                            Reply
                            1. R
                              Rakesh Mittal
                              Jun 22, 2014 at 6:13 am
                              The corruption is more than Rs 26000 Crores. If Govt can stop it than it can earn at least Rs 50000 Crores. One TT earns Rs 100,000 per month from black marketing of ticket. 50% of short route pengers do not take ticket. Mr Kumar must be knowing all so he should take action but alas this Govt is also silent on corruption
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Saseendran Madambi
                                Jun 22, 2014 at 4:11 am
                                congress always do votebank politics.malligarjun garge should answer in parliment why he kept pending the hike.
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  Shoshi
                                  Jun 23, 2014 at 10:58 am
                                  He was in CAG or railways in his last job
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    Shoshi
                                    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:55 am
                                    Indians have become beggars by choice. seeking alms from government than contributing for development. NDA has at lest increased fares for all. Congress would have done is for 10 children minorities and converting minorities and some cast based groups
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Shoshi
                                      Jun 23, 2014 at 11:00 am
                                      No no no no noo. I am in Police and I am highly demotivated when you say Railways is most corrupt. I will work hard now on to change your opinion
                                      Reply
                                      1. V
                                        V.G.Nair
                                        Jun 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm
                                        14% increase is bitter but acceptable once. But the rise is 200% for season tickets. These people have to take season ticket by compulsion and to travel in most inhuman condition. 10 times of people than the capacity travels in local trains in Mumbai and it is most profitable and still you increased the fare two times in one go. Not at all acceptable. No increase more than 10% in one year. Roll back immediately or else you will find the peoples anger in next embly polls itself.
                                        Reply
                                        1. V
                                          vivek
                                          Jun 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm
                                          “I am merely implementing the decision taken by the previous government.” - You m ean you had no choice in the matter ? Please own the decision that you are implementing. Your work is yours they will neither get bouquets nor brickbats for what you do or don't do.
                                          Reply
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