In a somewhat unconventional pre-budget recommendation, the Planning Commission has asked Indian Railways to substantially increase its short distance fare for passengers.
This would enable railways to make more profit instead of the government subsidising the cost of its low short-distance fares, according to Planning Commission Adviser BN Puri.
"The railways have been charging 20-25 paise per km from its passengers against 40 to 60 paise per km by road transporters," he said, adding that this puts a subsidy burden on the government and goes against the equity fare concept of transportation sector.
Meanwhile, the Planning Commission has also constituted a sub-Group to recommend ways and means for creation of logistics hubs to ensure that the government knows about the future traffic flows as also help it frame an integrated transport policy.
The recommendations of the group is expected within a month's time so that allocations are made in a proportionate manner for development of transport on roads, railways and airports in an equitable manner.
The Commission has also commissioned a study to RITES to appraise it about the future needs of the domestic transportation sector for making allocations from the investment point of view.
The commission was seriously contemplating logistic hubs within the Yojana Bhawan to suggest ways and means to take on the pressures of growing transportation sector so that a proper policy framework is put in place to make it user-friendly.
The energy efficiency of transport sector is going down with rising energy consumption levels and that is why, integrated development of transport system was urgently called for, pointed out Puri.