According to official estimates, the revenue has exceeded the budgetary target for April-November 2004 by over Rs 700 crore. Also there has been savings worth Rs 130 crore in gross expenses during the period. Thus the financial position has improved by around Rs 835 crore, over the budgetary target during the period.
The budgetary target was Rs 29,063 crore and the actual earnings have been estimated at around Rs 29,770 crore. On the other hand, the gross expenditure of the railways during the period was Rs 22,702 crore as against the budgetary estimate of Rs 22,832 crore.
Earnings form freight during the current year has been pegged at Rs 28,745 crore, which was higher by Rs 645 crore than what was proposed in the interim budget. Total freight earnings were Rs 27,115 crore during 2003-04. In case of passengers, total earnings during the year were estimated at Rs 13,940 crore, down from Rs 14,200 crore estimated in the interim budget. Railways earned Rs 13,460 crore from passenger fairs during last year.
According to railway officials the performance is expected to improve further on account of hike in freight charges which became effective from November 27, 2004. The April-November figures do not capture the impact of freight hike on revenues of the railways. The railways, it may be recalled, announced increase in freight charges to neutralise the impact of firming of diesel and steel prices.
The prices of diesel and steel have a major bearing on expenditure of railways. The railways consumes over 2,000 million litres of diesel and nearly 1.4 million tonne of steel every year. The hike in rail freight was estimated to yield around Rs 400 crore during the remaining part of the year. It would employ the railways revenue would go up up Rs 100 crore per month as a result of freight increase.
According to estimates, the passenger traffic during April-November 2004 has increased by more than 214.28 million compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year. A total of 3,586.35 million passengers travelled by trains compared to 3,372.07 million passengers during April-November 2003.
The passenger traffic, according to budget estimates, was expected to go up to 5,360 million during 2004-05 from 5,211 million during the last financial year. As far as goods were concerned, the originating freight was estimated to go up to 580 million tonne from 550 million tonnes during the last financial year. Both these targets are likely to be exceeded.