Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said that although diesel prices have come down, reduction in passenger fares is unlikely to happen.
“Railway recovers only 50 per cent of the passenger cost it bears. There is already a huge element of subsidy provided to passengers in the fares…Railway services will have to be modernised to meet people’s expectations and the network needs to be expanded. There is a huge demand-supply gap and finance is major constraint…the point is how to raise resources,” Prabhu said.
He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the 64th foundation day of the National Academy for Indian Railways (earlier known as the Railway Staff College) in the city late tonight.
The government has chalked out a fresh plan for the Railways, which will be announced in the upcoming rail budget on February 26, the minister said.
Advocating decentralisation of power, Prabhu said, “Henceforth, officials do not need to come to Delhi to get the tenders approved. I have given instructions that no tender- related file will come to me. It will be dealt at the General Manager and Divisional Manager-level only and does not require ministry’s interference.”
“I have directed that each area of rail operations should come up with a benchmark, which should be at par with the global standards. The task given to each department is to assess their performance against such benchmarks every year for a period of five years,” the minister said.