Expressing concern of poor financial condition of the railways, The Parliamentary panel has recommended that the Centre waive the divident payable by the transporter to the exchequer for 2016-17 . From the next financial year, the Centre has already decided to put an end the practice of dividend payment by railways to the finance ministry. This decision was taken after the government had earlier decided to merge the rail budget into the general budget from 2017.
The panel has also expressed hope that after the merger of two budgets, the Centre will provide more funds into railways without changing its basic nature.
When contacted by ‘The Indian Express’ , chairman of the Railway Convention Committee Bhartruhari Mahtab told the paper that the panel’s report discusses at length on the railways’ finances. After the seventh finance commission came into effect, the railways has been spending around Rs 1.07 rupee to earn Re 1, as per the report, presented in Lok Sabha couple of days back.
“The committee trusts that the notwithstanding the merger of railways’ finances with general finances, the basic structure of the organisation is not going to alter and railways will continue to operate on commercial principles besides fulfilling its social obligations,” the report says.
Opposition leaders have expressed concern after the government’s decision to to merge the two budgets. One of them was that railways would lose its social character and might become a profit-oriented organisation. The panel said it expects railways to not only maintain its distinct identity as a departmentally run commercial undertaking but also continue to have functional autonomy in decisions on investments.