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1400 hours IST,
March 25, 1998
No fare hikes in interim rail budget
Nitish Kumar assured the house that efforts would be made to strengthen the Indian railways to provide an efficient transport system for carrying both freight and passengers.
Expressing concern over the continuous decline in traffic being carried by the railways compared to road transport, he said the trend would be reversed.
The vote-on-account did not provide for introduction of any new schemes or projects.
Gross receipts for 1998-99 had been put at Rs 310.22 billion, an increase of Rs 27.19 billion over the revised estimates for the current year.
The increase in receipts is based on an estimated five per cent growth in passenger traffic and a revenue earning freight traffic of 450 million tonnes, 20 million more than the 1997-98 target.
Kumar said there was also increase in net revenue receipts by Rs 30.16 billion, of which net traffic receipts would be Rs 21.52 billion..
The estimate of ordinary working expenses has been placed at Rs 233.7 billion, Rs 27.19 billion more than the revised estimate for the current year. This would include normal increases and arrears payments deferred to 1998-99, the railway minister said. The total working expenses would amount to Rs 288.7 billion.
The contribution to depreciation reserve fund has been proposed to be kept at Rs 15 billion and appropriation to the pension fund has been enhanced to Rs 40 billion, Rs 6.33 billion more than the previous year.
Dividend to general revenues for 1998-99 had been computed provisionally on the basis adopted for the year 1997-98. After payment of dividend of Rs 17.56 billion to general revenues, the excess of receipts over expenditure worked out to Rs 7.55 billion.
He assured the house of an increase in the annual plan outlay for 1998-99 which had been fixed at Rs 83 billion, the same as the previous year.
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