Rlys board to take up dip in earnings today

Written by Praveen Kumar Singh | Praveen Kumar Singh | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 30 2010, 04:43am hrs
Concerned over non-achievement of passenger earning targets, Indian Railways has called officials from all zones for a meeting on Thursday to take stock of the situation and ascertain ways to fix the problem. The meeting of chief commercial managers of zonal railways with railway board members is likely to be chaired by board chairman Vivek Sahai.

The meeting will discuss the performance against the targets set for each zonal railway. Railways earnings growth has been dwindling and the board has been alerting every zone about it. The latest in the series was in March 2010. Despite regular reminders, earnings have not met expectations.

Railways earned Rs 23,751 crore during 2009-10, 1.27% lower than the expected income of Rs 24,057 crore. In fact railways was bearish on passenger earnings and had reduced the target for 2009-10 from the earlier Rs 24,309 crore.

The total passenger revenue earnings in the first three months of 2010-11 were Rs 6,191 crore. When compared with the targetthe data for which is available till Maythe earnings were Rs 4,029 crore, lower than the expected income of Rs 4,139 crore.

The national transporter can raise freight earnings by increasing goods loading combined with increase in freight rates. However, in the passenger segment the only option to improve earnings is to increase the number of passengers booked as it is difficult to hike fares in the political system that the country has.

The targets for originating passenger earnings and number of passengers booked have been communicated to zonal railways. However, a review of earnings for the Q1 of 2010-11 has revealed that most of the zonal railways are lagging behind with reference to the targets. Board has taken a very serious view of the same, the agenda paper for the meeting read.

In March, the Railways had asked the all zonal GMs to prepare action plans to cut costs and improve revenues. These action plans are also likely to be discussed during the meeting on Thursday. The railway board chairman will also take note of the earnings expectation of all zones for the full year. Railway minister has set a target of improving passenger earnings to Rs 26,127 crore in 2010-11.