Railways will seek suggestions from all stakeholders including public on constitution of a regulatory authority to suggest freight rates and passenger fares.
The draft of regulatory authority is ready and we will soon circulate it seeking views from all concerned, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said at the FICCI meeting here.
As per the plan, public transporter will constitute Railway Regulatory Authority of India, an independent body, to decide passenger fares and freight rate, a shift of regulatory responsibility from the government to an independent regulator is required to attract private sector.
He said the regulator will fix fares for passengers and freight.
“Besides fixing fares, regulator will also have efficiency parameters. We will take the finalised draft to Parliament,” Prabhu said.
In an apparent dig at the previous regime, Prabhu said “railways is under strain because of the lack of investment in critical areas. We inherited several challenges from the past including freight and passenger operation.”
Referring to the 7th Pay Commission recommendations as “unbearable burden on railways finances”, he said, “The Pay Commission reports will have a significant impact on finances and it will also impact the operating ratio. We will see what to do.”
Describing railways as an “engine of growth”, he said railways will present its vision for 2030.
“We are working on it to present new vision 2030,” Prabhu said.
Outlining future plan, he said “We presented Rail Budget for a year and perspective plan for five years last year. We intend to invest Rs 8.5 lakh crore in the next five years.”
He said the focus is on doubling and trebling instead of constructing new lines and also improving passengers amenities like better catering service, new interior, redeveloped stations.
Prabhu said “there is a need for business-friendly approach in railways. Instead of just delivering the goods from one station to another we should think how to offer end-to-end solution through multi-modal transportation system involving other mode of transportation.”