Revamp of railway freight and passenger fares likely

December 26, 2019 11:11 pm | Updated December 27, 2019 09:35 am IST - NEW DELHI

V.K. Yadav. File

V.K. Yadav. File

The Railways is mulling “rationalising” of charges for both passenger and freight services, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said on Thursday. But he did not clarify whether the fares will be increased.

“We are looking at rationalising the fares and freight rates. Something is being thought about... While the freight fares are already high, our target is to draw more traffic from road to the Railways,” he said.

The announcement comes at a time when a recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out that the steadily declining performance of the Railways was reflected in the operating ratio of 98.44% in 2017-18, which was the worst in the last 10 years.

On the restructuring of the Railway Board, Mr. Yadav said it was a long-pending reform suggested by many committees constituted on the Railways.

Following Cabinet approval earlier this week, the new restructured Railway Board will consist of one CRB/CEO and four members on functional basis — Member Infrastructure, Member Rolling Stock & Traction, Member Operation & Business Development and Member Finance.

“Independent Members will be inducted in Railway Board as non-executive Members who will be in advisory role. They will not be involved in day-to-day functioning of Railways...The idea to unify all eight services of the Indian Railways into one service namely the Indian Railways Management Service, is to break the departmentalism and make officers work in cohesion for the development of Railways,” an official release said.

As per the release, Mr Yadav said only officers of the Indian Railways will be considered for the post of CEO and no outsider will be posted as CEO.

“Secondly, career growth of Indian Railways officers is assured. No officer of Indian Railways shall be at disadvantage in this new restructured service,” he said.

The Railway Board Chairman added that offering apex level to the General Managers is a step to empower them for a better coordination with State authorities to take decisions swiftly and independently. “This will enable the Railway Board to concentrate on policy framing, strategic planning and coordination of Zonal Railways,” he said.

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