Not Worth It. Why Railway Fares May Not Be Hiked This Budget

NEW DELHI: Worried about the negative impact of a passenger fare hike, the government is veering towards giving it a miss this time. The Union Rail Budget, to be presented on February, is not likely to increase passenger fares, top sources have told NDTV.

They said that the government has estimated a 10 per cent increase in ticket prices will fetch only around Rs. 4500 Crore but "it may spoil the positive mood about the budget."

Officials said that railways can earn more than this amount by promoting Private Freight Terminals or PFTs and increasing advertising revenues. The NDA government has already increased ticket prices twice since it came to power in May 2014.

The first hike under the current government came in July 2014 with an over 14 per cent increase in passenger ticket prices. It was the steepest one in 15 years. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu did not increase fares when he presented his first rail budget in February last year but the government later hiked ticket prices in November 2015.

The Railways has additional burden of Rs. 32,000 crores to meet because it has to pay increased salaries and arrears under the seventh pay commission.


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