Interim Railway Budget, 2014 is most Disappointing Featured

The Interim Railway Budget presented by the Union Railway Minister has disappointed the people of our country. The extension of network, modernization of the system, filling up of large number of vacant posts, replacement and rehabilitation of old and worn out plants and machineries and rolling stock, track renewal, all these works suffered. The Operating Ratio increased to 94% by the Railway Ministers has failed to bring back the railway even to earlier position. The policy of economic reforms, the present government is pursuing vigorously, also reflected in the interim budget. The independent Tariff Regulatory Authority is being created which will be the independent freight and fare determining body. The main purpose is to minimise, rather phase out the cross subsidy which is the existing since the inception of railways. Thereby, the burden on common man will be increased. 80% of the passengers who travel in second class sleeper are the poor and the middle-class. If the cross subsidy is phased out, the burden on these sections of the people will be increased enormously. Creation of Freight Regulatory Authority was announced in 2012-13 Railway Budget when Shri Dinesh Trivedi was Railway Minster. Now the freight is linked with the price of fuel. The freight rate is being adjusted with the increase of price of fuel. Last year the freight rate on different commodities was increased a number of times and it had its impact on inflation.

The main thrust has been given on Public Private Partnership (PPP); namely rolling stock manufacturing units, modernization of stations, freight terminal, freight train operation and dedicated freight corridors. The Railways will now depend on private investments, but PPP, as in other areas has not been successful in railways. In addition to PPP, now Government has allowed FDI in Railways and that too in high speed corridor. The foreign investors will not only invest but they will undertake construction and as well as operation of trains in high speed corridor and this has to be restricted.
There were large number of vacancies in Railway and it is estimated to be 2.5 lakhs. There is acute shortage of safety related staff. As a result of this, the maintenance of coaches and locomotives are not done properly. The increase in the investment for the year 2014-15 is about one thousand crores and if we add inflation, there is hardly any increase of investment over the previous year 2013-14. And that is why no new projects has been announced in the budget; namely, new lines, gauge conversion, doubling etc. Thus, there will not be expansion of railway network. The Minister has, perhaps left this to new government. But, he has failed to show on which way the Indian Railways will go in future. The Indian Railways is not only a commercial organization, but it is also a social outlook. But, by allowing PPP in number of activities, by allowing FDI and FII for the first time in railways, the Railways is going to be converted to completely commercial organization. This is most unfortunate for the common people of our country. CITU denounce such retrograde approach.

Issued by,
12th February 2014

Read 16929 times