Common man braving the severe impact of price rise may soon face another blow in the form of higher freight and passenger fare if a proposal by the Railway Ministry is accepted.
The proposal to align the freight and passenger fare with market prices was made by the Railway Minister at the full Planning Commission meeting which was presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“The Railway Ministry proposed to have more dynamic freight and passenger fare aligned with market prices during the full Planning Commission meeting,” a source privy to the development said.
The proposal will help in generating resources needed for improving safety and quality of services.
This was among the various proposals suggested by various ministers during the meeting which approved the Approach Paper for the 12th Five Year Plan.
According to sources,Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi suggested that freight and passenger fares should be taken out of the Railway Budget so that they can be changed anytime during the course of the year.
The Planning Commission had earlier mooted the idea of setting up of a Railways Freight and Passenger Fare Authority to establish a more dynamic and market link structure. The proposal did not find favour with earlier Railway Ministers.
Trivedi also said that Indian Railways need Rs 1.60 lakh crore for outstanding schemes for development of railways.
According to sources,Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in his remarks during the meeting called for initiating a National Mission on Food Processing to improve efficiency in the sector.
He also said special focus has to be given to the infrastructure sector,particularly railways and electricity,to sustain a growth of over 8 per cent annually.
Pointing out the fact that around 60 per cent of the country’s population is dependent on the farm sector,Pawar said any development strategy should take farmers as the epicentre.
The Second Green Revolution during the 12th Plan (2012-17) should start from Eastern India,he added.
Sources said Home Minister P Chidambaram cautioned against the sustained inflationary pressure in the economy and said focus on improving agricultural productivity was essential to deal with it.
He also termed the current unemployment rate of over 6 per cent as very high and called for attention towards reducing it.
Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh called for a radical restructuring of government’s flagship programmes to make them more efficient,including consolidating various programmes and bringing in an integrated programme for development in rural India.
He said the Prime Minister’s Gramin Sadak Yojaya has been a big success and had a multiplier effect on the economy and called for more funding for it.
The minister added that his ministry would soon come out with a discussion paper on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
According to the sources,Ramesh said the Integrated Action Plan in the Naxal-affected districts should be implemented at block levels instead of district level.