With all passenger trains suspended since late-March and with only some train services running since May 12 in addition to Shramik Special trains, so far (of April and May), the passenger earnings shortfall could hover around Rs 9,000 crore by the end of May.
Indian Railways earnings suffer during COVID-19 lockdown! With over two months of nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways had suffered a freight earnings shortfall of Rs 8,283 crore so far, compared to this period last year. According to an IE report, barring foodgrain, the freight train services carried all commodities in its freight basket much less than it did during the last year’s corresponding period. According to sources quoted in the report, with all passenger trains suspended since late-March and with only some train services running since May 12 in addition to Shramik Special trains, so far (of April and May), the passenger earnings shortfall could hover around Rs 9,000 crore by the end of May.
According to officials, the national transporter has earned more than Rs 300 crore by running Shramik Specials, so far. But, they further mentioned that it has to be squared up with expenses incurred on food as well as other consumables provided in those train services. The Health Ministry has given Indian Railways an allocation of Rs 350 crore for coronavirus-related expenses.
According to the report, with the economy just about attempting a revival after the nationwide lockdown, the freight business of Indian Railways shows little signs of picking up. In the ongoing financial year, 148 million tonnes (MT) of freight, around 60 MT less than this period last year, has been carried by the national transporter. Thus, Indian Railways has earned an amount of Rs 13,412 crore, which is Rs 8,283 crore less than the corresponding period last year.
During this lockdown period, Indian Railways has moved 11.9 MT foodgrain, earning Rs 606 crore. Foodgrain is the only commodity in Indian Railways’ freight basket that witnessed growth over last year’s figures by a marginal 5.83 MT. But keeping in view that foodgrain is carried at highly subsidized rates, the performance by freight services during this period has not translated into much earnings.
Indian Railways has taken the worst hit with earnings from coal witnessing a shortfall of Rs 5,312 crore. During the lockdown, Indian Railways carried 70 MT coal, around 35 MT less than what it was during last year’s this period. The amount of fertilizer carried by Indian Railways was marginally less than the last-year period with a shortfall in earnings of around Rs 289 crore. For the first time in four decades, the national transporter fell short of its last year’s freight loading figures in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, the report added.