Rail Budget 2013: All eyes on Railways Minister P K Bansal over passenger fare hike
Bansal had on January 22 hiked passenger fares across-the-board after the Railways faced a loss of about Rs 25,000 crore in the passenger segment.
Railways had aimed to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 6,600 crore but the fuel hike had wiped out Rs 3,300 crore, Bansal had said.
The Rail Minister held several round of discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the Planning Commission in connection with the Rail Budget. He is also understood have discussed the possibility of fare hike with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
However, sources said a section of the Congress is not inclined towards effecting another round of fare hike as general elections are not far away.
Bansal is all set to announce a slew of passenger-friendly measures such as improvement in catering service, maintaining cleanliness at rail premises, introducing Braille stickers in coaches for visually-challenged passengers and development of stations in his maiden Rail Budget.
While there are possibilities of minor tinkering in freight rates despite resistance from the industry due to the slow economy growth, there will be some announcements of freight schemes to attract more loadings in the next fiscal 2013-14.
With Bansal heading Rail Bhavan and the key ministry back with the Congress party after almost one-and-a-half decade, speculation
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