Railways concerned about dip in passenger and freight earnings

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New Delhi, Jan 15: The financial woes for railways has multiplied with the dip in passenger and freight earnings target in December last year causing serious concern to the Railway ministry.

Besides facing target shortfall, the cash-strapped Railways is facing a Rs 12,000 crore cut in its gross budgetary support and also an impending Rs 32,000 crore burden due to the 7th Pay Panel recommendations.

Dip in passenger: Railway concerned

Railways earned Rs 9533.07 crore from goods loading in December 2015, as against the target of Rs 10,918.53 crore target, a 12.69 per cent decrease. In passenger segment, railways collected Rs 3786.12 crore in December last year as against the target of Rs 4032.61 crore, a decline of 6.11 per cent, according to Railway Ministry data.

There were total 682.47 million tickets booked in December 2015, as against the target of 717.96 million, a negative growth of 1.94 per cent. Acknowledging the shortfall in meeting target, a senior Railway official said "generally targets are fixed at higher side keeping the prevailing economic scenario in mind.

Though December earnings are not very promising, we are hopeful that the loadings and passenger bookings will go up considerably during January-March period." Beside the target shortfall, Railways is also facing a reduction of Rs 12,000 crore from its 40,000 crore gross budgetary support (GBS).

Read More: Proper transportation sector key to India's growth: Suresh Prabhu

Finance Ministry has written to the Railways informing the cut in the GBS by Rs 12,000 crore citing low expenditure in the first six months of the current fiscal. However, the official said, the GBS cut indicated by the Finance Ministry has not been accepted yet by the Railways and "we are in touch with the Finance through correspondence and we hope the matter will be resolved shortly."

He further said "The first six months involve planning and approval besides monsoon period also. Expenditure during this period is always low.

But it picks up in the last six months." Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has also written a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking Rs 32,000 crore to tide over the 7th Pay Panel burden.

However, according to sources, the request for Rs 32,000 crore has been rejected by Finance Ministry which has asked the Railways to raise resources of its own to meet the expenditure.

PTI 

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