Zonal railways directed to effect expenditure cut

Running a shortfall in its current earnings of over Rs. 1700 crore so far, all zonal railways have been directed to effect a cut of Rs. 100 crore in their expenditures related to various heads including plan expenditure.

The letter has asked the zonal offices to “identify savings of Rs. 100 crore over working budget grant and reassessed budget grant for ordinary working expenses and plan expenditure separately.”

The Board has issued the directive in its circular calling for a proper assessment of the estimates and to do away with the tendency to project liberal requirements without linkages with the activities proposed.

The board has set a timeline for making the revised estimate for the current financial year and proposing the estimates for the next financial year 2013-14.

The board is particularly concerned that the railways had closed two successive financial years with deficits and to cover the gap had to resort to loans availed at very high rates of interest.

It has insisted on keeping the resource constraints in mind while framing the estimates.

It also brought out the adverse impact of liberal estimates stressing that the railways had sought Rs. 5,000 crore in its revised estimate in 2011-12. While the actual sanctioned amount was Rs. 2000 crore, the railways ended up surrendering Rs. 1113 crore.

The zonal railways have been asked to account for requirement for projects in their revised estimates for the current financial year and the budget estimates for 2013-14.

It has also called for assessing the traffic earnings based on anticipated traffic output.

The inability of the zones to furnish detailed traffic projection supporting the estimates of earnings had led to a mismatch in targets of earnings and traffic output fixed for each zone.

The Board has made it clear that it would not accept summarised estimates without detailed estimates of traffic plan in the prescribed format.

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has made it clear the stress in the next Budget would be on completing the pending projects which require about Rs. 1.4 lakh crore.