The Indian Railways that claimed a “record-breaking performance” during the two years of the Modi government has not only failed to meet its budgetary earnings targets but has recorded a 9% shortfall as compared to last year’s earnings in the first two months of the current fiscal.
Official figures accessed by Hindustan Times show that the revenues of state-owned transporter fell to Rs. 26,152.43 crore during April-May this year or a decline of 8.22% against the overall earnings – both freight and passenger earnings – of Rs. 28,494.99 crore for the same period last year.
“The focus on investments is fine, but the Railways cannot buy its way out of its current financial trouble. Immediate and critical steps are required to improve the organisation’s financial performance,” a senior ministry official said.
Statistics do not suggest that recent policy initiatives to ramp up freight transportation have had any positive impact, as earnings from goods traffic are shown to have declined from Rs. 19,412.79 crore for the first two months of last fiscal to Rs. 16,930.03 crore this year – a 2.79% decline.
Goods traffic for the same period fell from 182.23 million tonnes last year to 178.60 million tonnes this year, a decline of 3.63 million tonnes. This works out to a shortfall of 16.95% from the budgetary targets.
Earnings from passenger traffic have been stable with Rs. 1,343.21 crore earned from the segment in the first two months of the current fiscal as compared to Rs. 1,337.23 crore last year, but a worrying aspect is contained in the fine print.
While suburban traffic has grown, earnings from Long Distance and General Class passenger traffic fell by 2.13% and 1.32% respectively.