Wishing Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ‘good luck’ ahead of the presentation of budget, his predecessor and TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday said he is little worried about the railways, which is presently in a crisis going from bad to worse.
“I am little worried about the railways because railways is a basic system anywhere in the world, which adds to half percent to the GDP. If the railways doesn’t do well, you cannot contain even your food inflation,” he said. “However, at the moment whatever I see and whatever figures I get the railways is in a crisis, going from bad to worse,” said Trivedi.
Suggesting measures to deal with the prevailing crisis, he said, “There are two committees’ reports – Kakodkar and Sam Pitroda Committees – and Prabhu has nothing to do, just implement that.”
Elaborating on his statement, Trivedi said, “Suresh Prabhu has two ways of doing; one he has to call a spade a spade and bring in front of the people the actual health, of the lack of it, of the railways. Second, he can fudge the figure.”
“I give you a concrete example, the operating ratio to my mind today could be anywhere above 100-115, it consists of revenue, which is divided by expenditure. The expenditure is of two types – one is direct and another is related to depreciation.
If depreciation needs Rs. 50,000 crores and you show Rs. 5,000, it’s not going to help you, the railways or the country,” he suggested. “So he has an opportunity to tell this is it and these are the ways of doing it,” added Trivedi. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is all set to present his second Rail Budget for 2016-17 in Parliament on Thursday.
The people’s expectations are high about the announcement of new trains and improvement in passenger amenities, while railway finances have come under tremendous strain as passenger fares was not hiked in the last budget and the minister faces a dilemma whether to raise fares and freight rates. The railways have earned over Rs.136,079 crore as against the target of Rs. 141,416 crore during April-January, a decline of 3.77 percent.
Talking to reporters after giving finishing touches to the budget on Wednesday, Prabhu said the Rail Budget will cater to the needs of all satisfactorily as a lot of effort has gone into its preparation.
“It has been prepared in the interest of the nation and the railways taking into considerations the ground reality consideration before finalising it,” he added.