Bitter rail pill had to be taken: Finance Minister
New Delhi: Claiming that the hike in rail fares is a “difficult but correct decision”, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday maintained that only if users pay for service will railways be able to serve. Railway passenger and freight fares were increased by 14.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively, on Friday.
Though the railways and its minister Sadanand Gowda sought to blame the previous UPA government for the hike, Mr Jaitley was more forthright in owning up to the decision. “Passenger services have been subsidised by freight traffic. In recent years, even freight fares have come under pressure,” he reasoned.
The railways cross-subsidises passenger fares from its freight earning. “India must decide whether it wants a world-class railway or a ramshackle one. The railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision,” he said.
The Indian Railways, for the last few years, have been running at a loss. The only way that the railways can survive is when users pay for the facilities that they avail," the finance minister argued in a post on his Facebook page.