The government is likely to adopt the legislative route to set up an independent Rail Development Authority (RDA) that will be responsible for fixing passenger fares and freight charges, among many other things. Although the Indian Railways wanted RDA to be set up through an executive order, the Niti Aayog had pitched for legislative route to ensure independence of the authority.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to sources, has given his consent for a legislation-backed RDA on the lines of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“A joint presentation by Niti Aayog and Railways were made before the Prime Minister and the PM expressed satisfaction,” he said.
Besides, fixing the fare and freight and fare charges, the authority would also be responsible for protecting the interest of consumers, ensuring quality of service, promoting competition, encouraging market development, efficient allocation of resources, provide non-discriminatory open access specially on DFC and to benchmark service levels for ensuring quality, continuity and reliability of service.
RDA may be also entrusted with the task of regulating private investment in railways and resolving commercial disputes.
National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) Report of 2014 had recommended that a Rail Tariff Authority should be set up which should become the overall regulator.
Later Bibek Debroy Committee Report had also recommended a regulator with overarching functions.
Many of the countries like the UK, Russia, the US, Australia and Germany have regulatory structure in some form or the other.
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