Indian Railways is targeting passenger earnings of Rs 61,000 crore in the next financial year, an increase of Rs 5,000 crore over the previous budget, and boost freight earnings to Rs 1.47 lakh crore, a rise of Rs 4,000 crore, according to the demand for grants and the so-called Pink Book tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
The pink book consists of the various programs or projects that are undertaken or yet to be undertaken. It consist of detailed information of all the different zones of the Indian Railways.
The targets were unveiled at a time when the national transporter is reeling under the stress of dwindling finances. Hindustan Times reported in January that Indian Railways was struggling to meet its freight and passenger earnings targets for the financial year 2019-20.
“There is a shortfall of revenue of Rs 3,064. 26 crore up to December 2019 when compared to the corresponding period last year,” railway minister Piyush Goyal informed Parliament.
He also added Indian Railway carried out certain transport activities in the passenger segment that are “uneconomic” by nature, but carried out in the larger interest of the country. “Losses incurred on this account are assessed every year (annually basis) which are termed as social service obligation on Indian Railways,” Goyal said.
Indian Railways in December decided to hike passenger fares from January 1, 2020. The fares were hiked by 1 paisa per km for ordinary non-AC trains, by 2 paisa per km for mail and express trains (non-AC coach) and 4 paisa per km for travel in AC classes. The national carrier expects to generate annual additional earnings of Rs 2,312.36 crore through this, Goyal said.
Railways’ freight earnings have been hit because of a decline in coal and cement movement amid a slowdown in the economy. The national carrier has projected revenue from coal to increase to Rs 67,355.22 crore in FY 2020-21 from 61,482.20 (revised estimate) in FY 19-20.
A total of Rs 72,215.63 crore (budget estimate) has been allocated for the railways in the current budget, a 6.1% increase over Rs 68,018.67 crore (budget estimate) in the previous financial year.