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Blog Entry# 1949377
Posted: Aug 02 2016 (12:51)

1 Responses
Last Response: Aug 02 2016 (12:51)
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Aug 02 2016 (11:51)   Railways to circulate Cabinet note for independent regulator - Infracircle

For Better Managed Indian Railways~   948 news posts
Entry# 1949377   News Entry# 275699         Tags   Past Edits
The long-awaited and much-needed independent regulator for the railways will step closer to reality with the ministry of railways set to circulate a Cabinet note for inter-ministerial comments next week.
The Indian Railways has been planning to set up an independent regulator for private investment regulation and arbitration, and overseeing tariffs to correct passenger and freight imbalances for quite some time.
“The Cabinet note has been processed and will be sent by next week for consultation. The note will be sent to the ministries of finance, corporate affairs and law for inter-ministerial comments,”
said a spokesperson for the railway ministry.
In 2014, the National Transport Development Policy Committee, headed by economist Rakesh Mohan, had recommended that a Rail Tariff Authority (RTA) should be set up which should finally become the overall rail regulator encompassing other regulatory functions in addition to tariff. RTA still remains a recommendation.
Later, railway minister Suresh Prabhu in his budget speech for financial year 2015-16 had announced setting up of Rail Development Authority (RDA) in order to have a regulation mechanism independent of the service provider.
According to a railway ministry concept note floated in January 2016, RDA (the newer avatar of RTA which was also endorsed by the Bibek Debroy Committee in 2015) will undertake four key functions—tariff determination, ensuring fair play, setting efficiency and performance standards and dissemination of information.
“Initially, it was contemplated to set up only a tariff regulator. However, it is now proposed to set up a mechanism which will be entrusted with making regulations, setting performance standards and determining tariffs. It will also adjudicate on disputes among licensees/private partners and the ministry, subject to review in appeal,” Prabhu said in his budget speech for 2015-16.
In an infrastructure review meeting on 31 May, government think tank, the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog, or Niti Aayog, had also recommended to Prime Minister Narendra Modi the setting up of an independent regulator in the financial year 2017.
“The Cabinet note will be went for inter-ministerial comments, and upon receiving feedback, we will present it to the Cabinet,” said a senior railway ministry official requesting anonymity.
According to experts, it is imperative for the railways to have an independent regulator in order to create a level playing field.
“It is very important to have an independent regulator for the railways. There should be rules and regulations to ensure no exploitation takes place. It will also ensure that unnecessary penalties are not imposed,” said S.S. Khurana, former chairman of the Railway Board.
He pointed out that another aspect is that of tariff regulation. “The ministry right now decides the tariff itself and that is not commercially viable as due to popular decisions and political compulsion, tariffs remain on the lower side which will change once a regulator is in place,” he added.
The Indian Railways has been under huge financial stress and a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said that in some suburban sections, the operating ratio was as high as 750%, which means the people’s carrier is spending Rs.750 to earn Rs.100

Aug 02 2016 (12:51)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 1949377-1            Tags   Past Edits
Operating ratio of 750% is just not tenable. It means there is not adequate traffic for the large number of local trains being operated. If trains are running full, it means without ticket travel is rampant. Both situations need to be tackled properly by IRlys. Which suburban sections have such astronomical Ors? Further investment on such sections will further bleed the IRlys.
Suburban trains are invariably operating in Metro cities where per capita income of citizens is much higher than the average per capita income of nation. i.e. the huge subsidy is enjoyed by relatively richer people and borne by poor!
other beneficiary is the state Govt which gets about two third of the IncomeTax collected by Central Govt from these people, and other taxes through the industries/ businesses facilitated by the suburban trains. State Govt may be asked to share its burden as they are benefited.
Extreme subsidy in MST passes also need to be curtailed and second class ordinary fares should be brought to a reasonable level.

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