Railway practice to “overcharge” goods customers unhealthy: Niti Aayog

Railways ends up treating its goods business as a tool to more than make up for its passenger business losses to manage overall financial situation, said a report

GN Bureau | September 15, 2016


#Surge Pricing   #Rail Budget   #Suresh Prabhu   #Indian Railways   #Railways   #Niti Aayog  


Niti Aayog, in its report Impact of 'Social Service Obligations' by Indian Railways, said that inefficiency in railways cost structure significantly contributes to the losses in passenger service business and hence tariff increase cannot be the only mechanism to address such social costs. It has to be necessarily complemented by cost optimization and non-fare box revenue enhancement strategies with varying levels for various classes.


Railways estimate indicate that financial impact of under recoveries due to lower tariff in non-suburban services is expected to be around Rs 28,000 crore, while a review indicates that this could more reasonably be around Rs 22,000 crore considering the competitive market dynamics in estimation.


The report, released on Wednesday, said that for AC classes, the average tariff levels are higher than equivalent fares for AC bus service. Hence, it is likely that losses in AC class are attributable to higher base cost structure of railways than to its fare structure. Railways would accordingly need to explore alternate cost optimization and expenditure control strategies to recover such losses.


For the year 2014-15, while railways passenger business incurred a net loss of about Rs 33,000 crores, its goods business made a profit of about Rs 44,500 crore.


“Effectively, IR (Indian Railways) ends up treating its goods business as a tool to more than make up for its passenger business losses to manage overall financial situation. This practice of “overcharging” goods customers is actually unhealthy for the net economy as higher goods tariffs are eventually passed on to common public in the form of higher electricity cost, higher cement, steel costs etc.


“This unfair practice also distorts the inter-modal share leading to customers preferring sub-optimal choice of modes such as roads. Therefore, looking at this matter in a holistic manner, it is suggested that measures to address social costs of passenger service business should necessarily be taken along with measures to rationalize goods tariff distortions.”


The report goes on to say that it can also be argued that Railway provides better services comparable to bus transportation for various classes. For example, AC and Sleeperclass in railways is generally considered better compared to the equivalent class in bus transport. For second class, train services are more or less comparable and possibly better for many cases than bus transport. Hence, in an ideal competitive environment, railways should be able to charge a commensurate premium in its tariffs reflecting service level differences.


Read the full report here

 

Comments

 

Other News

Why is Lanka in flames: the making of a crisis

This time it was not Lord Hanuman, but the poor decision-making of the political leaders combined with several global economic factors that set Sri Lanka in flames. A state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka. This month, after the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka resigned from his post, the

Growing Up as a Multilinguist

Being and Becoming Multilingual: Some Narratives Edited by Rajesh Sachdeva and Rama Kant Agnihotri

Mumbai civil body refutes allegations of scam in tenement scheme

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has rejected the Congress accusations of financial irregularities worth Rs 8,000 crore—9,000 croe in awarding contracts for getting project-affected people (PAP) tenements on private land.    BMC has said that it implements vital p

Sedition law: Can it have a place in democracy?

Does the concept of sedition have a place in modern democracies? This question became more relevant when the apex court recently put the country`s colonial-era sedition law on abeyance stating that there is a “requirement to balance… security interests and integrity of the State… and th

Not just another Manto anthology

The Collected Stories of Saadat Hasan Manto: Volume 1: Bombay and Poona Translated by Nasreen Rehman Aleph Book Company, 548 pages, Rs 999 There are writers, there are writers’ writers, and then there are readers’ writers. Saadat Hasan Mant

These tribal women may be illiterate but are successful entrepreneurs

Meet Promila Krishna, 39, Lalita Nayak, 40, Parbati Gadba, 42, Sanadei Dhuruwa, 39, and Nabita Barika, 41, of Kundra block in Odisha’s Koraput district. Except for Promila who is a matriculate, others haven’t attended school beyond the elementary level. However, while introducing themselves to

Visionary Talk: Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter