Karela Fry

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Maybe the railway budget

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The Railway minister, Dinesh Trivedi’s, budget proposal is quoted in full by NDTV. The operative parts read:

Within the constraints of funds, the Annual Plan outlay for the year 2012-13 has been targeted at [INR] 60,100 crore, which is highest ever plan investment. The plan would be financed through:

  1. Gross Budgetary Support of 24,000 crore
  2. Railway Safety Fund of 2,000 crore;
  3. Internal Resources of 18,050 crore; and
  4. Extra Budgetary Resources of 6,050 crore, whichincludes market borrowing of 15,000 crore through IRFC

I propose to rationalise the fares to cause minimal impact on thecommon man and to keep the burden within tolerance limits ingeneral. I am asking for an extra only 2 paise per km for suburban andordinary second class. Similarly, increase for mail express secondclass will be by only 3 paise per km; for sleeper class by only 5 paiseper km; for AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier & First Class by only 10 paise per km; AC 2 Tier by only 15 paise per km; and AC I by only 30 paise per km. Corresponding rationalisation in minimum distance and fare chargeable in various classes has also been proposed.

The last para above incensed Mr. Trivedi’s party chief enough for her to ask the prime minister to sack him. IE reports:

The UPA was pushed to the wall again tonight by the Trinamool Congress and its increasingly capricious chief Mamata Banerjee who sought the sacking of her seniormost nominee in the union cabinet, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, hours after he proposed a hike in passenger fares, the first in 10 years.

The government is said to have agreed to Banerjee’s request — faxed to the Prime Minister’s Office — to replace Trivedi with Mukul Roy who is currently minister of state for shipping. This, ironically, hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh applauded Trivedi’s budget as “forward looking”.

Roy, known as Mamata’s right-hand man, has had an earlier stint as minister of state for railways. On July 11 last year, he refused to visit the site of the Guwahati-Puri Express derailment in Assam saying that it was the PM, and not he, who was in charge of Railways.

Trivedi also spelled out a plan to balance fluctuating fuel costs with train fares and laid out a roadmap for a major revamp in the Indian Railways Board, aimed at making the Railways more modern and safe.

An independent Rail Tariff Authority, subject to approval by Parliament, will from now on fix fares, and thereby take away the railway minister’s exclusive powers on fare revisions.

“I have successfully brought the Railways out of the intensive care unit,” Trivedi said minutes after delivering the budget.

His plan outlay of Rs 60,100 crore is the highest ever, about Rs 3,000 crore more than last year’s outlay earmarked by Mamata Banerjee. “I had to do it to save the Railways,” Trivedi said.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

March 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

One Response

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  1. […] escape anyone’s attention that this impacts the core issues in the brouhaha that removed the previous railway minister in the middle of the budget process in the parliament, namely railway safety. Loss of lives has never been a concern to the […]

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