Indian Railways will stay on growth track in 2009-10 projecting cash surplus of Rs 18,847 crore after cutting most of the passenger fares, even as economic slowdown affected its freight business.
Even as its industrial customers face a crippling slowdown, the Railways expects to earn gross traffic receipts of Rs 93,159 crore in 2009-10, exceeding the revised estimates for the current fiscal by Rs 10,766 crore. Passenger fares for second class (above Rs 50) as also for the luxury trains have been reduced by two per cent.
The pace of expansion is affected by the global downturn impacting the Indian business, but the balance-sheet of the country's largest transporter remains robust.
Expenses (operating ratio) would a tad higher at 89.9 per cent because of increased salary bill after implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission in the next financial year as compared to 88 per cent in the current fiscal.
As the rest of the economy is grappling with business setbacks, the Railways would pay a higher dividend of Rs 5304 crore to its owners -- the government.
" ...Railways have kept the human aspect as the central focus and achieved an extraordinary feat without puttany extra burden on the common man or the employees," Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said while presenting the interim Budget in Parliament on Friday.