Railways Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said on Friday the ministry would soon prepare a draft Bill to setup a rail tariff authority, which would frame rules for passenger fares and freight rates talking into account efficiency parameters.
“The framework for the regulator will be uploaded on the rail ministry’s website soon for public discussion. Once it is finalised, we hope to convert it into a law and get it passed in Parliament,” Prabhu said, addressing a gathering of investors at a Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) event on public-private partnership.
The minister had earlier this month said the railways would decide on an “independent institutional mechanism” that will decide passenger fares and freight rates based on efficiency in the system. “We will have to create a new law and seek consultation with the opposition (parties) on it,” he had said.
Prabhu, who has been facing flak for the slow progress on key projects and the lack of capital spending, also announced the Rs 82,000 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project would be commissioned soon. “Also, our JVs with states will bring in 2-3 lakh crore of investments and additional 70-80,000 crore investment would come from the surplus money with PSUs. These are all PPP projects,” he said.
Prabhu announced In order to boost transparency, all railway tenders will be brought on e-tendering mode by the end of this fiscal. “We have converted the previous government’s theoretical figure of $1 trillion infrastructure investments in five years a reality. Now the private sector must work along with us rather than waiting in the wings telling us what to do,” he said.
Indian Railways is working on a target of Rs 1 lakh crore spending in the current financial year. Of this, around Rs 60,000 crore would be sourced from the finance ministry while the rest will be sourced from internal and extra budgetary sources.