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News Entry# 289288
  
Dec 21 2016 (12:50)  Govt may hike train fares after Budget to check its mounting losses (www.hindustantimes.com)
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News Entry# 289288   Blog Entry# 2098518     
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Posted by: Jayashree ❖ Amita  36991 news posts
The government might hike rail passenger fares and freight rates after the budget to stave off mounting losses, a top official said on Tuesday, as finance minister Arun Jaitley said passengers should pay for services they receive.
Speaking weeks before he presents India’s first combined railway and Union budget in February, Jaitley made a strong pitch for the railways to outsource non-core activities such as hospitality.
“Railways got caught in a battle where populism prevailed over performance... the basic principle on which any commercial establishment is to be run is that consumers must
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pay for the services they receive,” Jaitley told reporters.
The railway ministry official said the public-sector behemoth suffered an annual loss of Rs 33,000 crore on account of passenger fare subsidy but any hike announcement might come after the budget as it wants to assess budgetary support.
“We want the government to help railways bear the cost of the losses but so far, the finance ministry has refused any assistance,” said an official who did not wish to be quoted.
Read: The new rail fare structure is confusing and will help airlines
The ministry is also likely to move the cabinet soon, seeking approval for setting up a committee to recommend rates of passenger fare and freight.
India’s colonial-era railways carries more than 23 million passengers daily but creaky infrastructure, poor maintenance and shoddy revenue generation has hurt the world’s fourth-largest rail network.
Successive governments have backed away from reforms and especially hiking passenger fares, which is a politically sensitive topic.
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As a result, the country’s largest employer runs many trains at rock-bottom fares and struggles to balance its books.
For example, for every Rs 100 spent on a rail passenger, the railways recovers just Rs 57 while the other Rs 43 is government subsidy. The poor financial health has taken a toll on rail infrastructure and accidents are common.
A number of state elections are scheduled for February-March, including the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The finance minister said to remain competitive against highways and airlines, railways would have to strengthen its performance and internal management system.
“The core competence of railways is to drive trains. Hospitality may not be the core competence of the railways and what is not within its core competence, the principle of outsourcing -- accepted the world over -- can be a logical addition,” Jaitley said.
He also dismissed Opposition criticism of the government’s recall of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes and said the Reserve Bank of India had enough currency for circulation.
“We were prepared. There has been no day when RBI did not dispense adequate cash to banks. Even today, RBI has more than adequate cash to last not just till December 30 but even beyond it,” Jaitley said.
Millions have lined up outside banks and ATMs since the high-value banknotes were scrapped last month but a cash crunch and frequent rule changes have irked the Opposition.
The finance minister also pitched for a shift to digital transactions, announcing small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore would pay less tax if they accept payments through banking and digital platforms. The presumptive tax on digital and cheque payments will be 6% instead of 8%.
Jaitley said the government will continue to incentivise the shift from cash transactions as there had been a 300-400% increase in digital and e-payments.

  
1808 views
Dec 21 2016 (12:56)
Naushad P*^~   330 blog posts   17284 correct pred (58% accurate)
Re# 2098518-1            Tags   Past Edits
Services have gone from bad to worse. Should public pay for that too ?????

  
1469 views
Dec 21 2016 (13:06)
©The Dark Lord™~   8193 blog posts   2 correct pred (80% accurate)
Re# 2098518-2            Tags   Past Edits
If they even touch AC fares then nothing could be more disastrous for Railways' future than that. Subsidized rate of Sleeper, Sub-urban and UR tickets are the reason behind this loss and thanks to pity politics, no one dares to open the Pandora box by increasing these classes fares. If Suresh Prabhu really wants to be pro-reformist then first show the guts to increase the fares of these classes. And if he can't then let things happen as it happening now, no need to disturb the equilibrium.

  
1904 views
Dec 21 2016 (13:11)
deepakrashikendra~   1075 blog posts
Re# 2098518-3            Tags   Past Edits
Subsidized rate of Sleeper, Sub-urban and UR tickets are the reason behind this loss and thanks to pity politics, no one dares to open the Pandora box by increase these classes fares.
Absolutely right.

  
Dec 21 2016 (14:32)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2098518-4            Tags   Past Edits
Difficulties in increasing non ac fares:
(1) Today hyperactive opposition is questioning each and every move/step/decision/policy of govt whether good or bad, whether liked by people/ rest of the world or not. Opposition wants country to be governed by UPA-2 policies in auto mode, the policies which had been summarily rejected by the Indian electorate in 2014.
(2) Almost every political party is ready to go to any extent to appease the huge chunk of vote bank i.e. the so called poor (about two third population having BPL cards and not paying income
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tax).
(3) Political game played in the name of cheap travel for poor since last 15 years, by not increasing non ac fares for 10 years in a row in spite of severe inflationary pressures. It has made non ac rail fare increase, a taboo.
(4) Prolonged pampering has resulted in a situation where the so called poor thinks that classification as a poor, or having a BPL card entitle them to get every thing almost free. Any govt increasing non ac fare shall certainly suffer in the forthcoming elections, as for majority of population getting maximum subsidies/ freebies matter most and good governance, sound financial/military/technological developments etc matter lesser.
(5) After sacking of a an efficient RM just for increasing non ac fares by his own party has created a situation, where increasing non ac fares is considered as a political sin.
(6) Mr Prabhu intended to increase non ac fares after introducing better facilities/ amenities to paxs. But even then fare increase is very difficult, thanks to hyper active opposition & subsidy addicted majority of public..
(7) non ac fares have to be reasonably increased at some point of time, some one have to bell the cat or have to drink poison for the sake of IR/ India just like lord Shiva did for humanity in the legendary tales.

  
1338 views
Dec 21 2016 (15:42)
©The Dark Lord™~   8193 blog posts   2 correct pred (80% accurate)
Re# 2098518-5            Tags   Past Edits
Sir, MCQ ka jamana hai or aap to pura Essay likh dete hai apne comment me..:D Pure katha ka ek saar, Politics ke kaaran Suresh Prabhu phir se Middle class ko hi chuna lagayenge.

  
1136 views
Dec 21 2016 (17:04)
Foamer~   1930 blog posts
Re# 2098518-6            Tags   Past Edits
This govt. could have increased in 2014 when the election victory and their personal stock was high. People were ready having realised that ticket prices were too low, maybe some noise from opposition. But they let go of the opportunity. Any major reform needs to be initiated within 6 months of a victory.

  
1048 views
Dec 21 2016 (18:27)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2098518-7            Tags   Past Edits
Mr Prabhu was hand picked to become RM in 2015 after apparently lack lusture stint of Mr Gowda (2014-15).
It looks RM planned to give more facility & conveniences to paxs and then increase the fares. So he aggressively pursued online help to passengers thru twitter, Emphasis on increasing pax. ameneties at Rly stations, Online options for catering, cleaning of stations/ trains as a part of Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan etc.
A lot of tough steps like not introducing too many new trains, review of unwanted and political stoppages of trains, review of
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subsidies etc were propagated.
But, the defeats of NDA/BJP in Bihar and Delhi legislative elections, gave an idication that public dislike strong steps. The public mood and the mean role (to block development, the key election plank of NDA) played by opposition forced govt to go slow.

  
1088 views
Dec 21 2016 (18:34)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2098518-8            Tags   Past Edits
Aap ka kehna sahee lag rahaa hai,
Sada aisa hi hota chala aaya hai.
Kyon ki Netaon ke liye,
ameeron ke paas note hai
Gareebon ke paas vote hai
Aur
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Middle class to ek langote hai
jo lachaar desh ki izzat dakhta reh jaata hai
aur is khinchne mein sabko mazaa aata hai!!

  
1080 views
Dec 21 2016 (18:38)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2098518-9            Tags   Past Edits
My (dark) Lord, MCQ problems solve karne ke liye, Saar jaananaa bhi zaroori hota hai
Yeh main naihin kehta kitabon mein likha hai aur, hamare buzurgon ne bataaya hai!!!!
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