Harish Jharia

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14 March 2012

Indian Railway Budget 2012: Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi Hiked Passenger Fares In Unprofessional Way


© Harish Jharia 

Indian Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi has announced substantial hike in passenger fares in the Indian Railway Budget for 2012-13. It is the first hike in passenger fares in the last eight years and the same was unavoidable for the Indian Railways to avoid any more. 

The previous Railway Ministers used to make passenger fare hikes in more organized ways. In most of the previous hikes the short distance journeys were spared from the extra burden imposed by the Railway Budgets to the common men. 

By taking such precautions, in the past, the Railways expressed concerns for daily commuters who use to travel up and down on daily basis for attending their jobs. That also helped the rural poor who travel short distances for attending social commitments, medical treatments and short distance pilgrimages. 

Here are the alarming features of the Railway Budget 2012:
  1. The Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi drafted this budget by totally neglecting this aspect of budgeting process usually followed in railways where the poor of the country get special treatment. The Railway Minister should have exempted travels up-to the distance of 100 km from the fare hike. 
  2. The Railway Minister has used a very casual formula in selecting the rates of hike in passenger fare. He started the hike from 2 paisa (Rs 0.02) and has gone upwards in a regular sequence like 2 paisa… 3 paisa… 5 paisa… 10 paisa… 15 paisa… 30 paisa. The rates should have been more realistic and practical rather than selecting a mathematical progression. 
The following are the passenger fares hiked that the Indian Railway Minister has proposed in his railway budget:

Example: New Delhi to Mumbai Central (Distance: 1384 km)
Example: Kerala Sampark Kranti Express Train
  • Sleeper: Present fare Rs 422 > increased to Rs 492 (Rs 0.05 x 1384= Rs 70)  
  • AC– III: Present fare Rs 1131 > increased to Rs 1269 (Rs 0.10 x 1384= Rs 138)  
  • AC– II: Present fare Rs 1547 > increased to Rs 1754 (Rs 0.15 x 1384= Rs 207)  
  • AC– I: Present fare Rs 2611> increased to Rs 3026 (Rs 0.30 x 1384= Rs 415)  
In addition to the above the Railway Minister has also increased passenger fare for unreserved tickets as follows:  
  • II-class Passenger (General) … Rs 0.02 ppkm … fair hike Rs 28
  • II-class Express (General) … Rs 0.03 ppkm … fare hike Rs 42
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