Indian Railways on Tuesday projected its gross traffic earnings to grow by over 12 per cent next fiscal, despite slashing passenger fares and announcing cuts in freight rates for select commodities and destinations.
Presenting the Railway Budget for 2008-09 in Parliament, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said: "Maintaining an overall double digit growth, gross traffic earnings have been projected as Rs 81,801 crore, reflecting an increase of Rs 9,146 crore on the revised estimates for the current year."
Freight earnings are expected to rise by 10.38 per cent next fiscal to Rs 52,700 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 47,743 crore in 2007-08.
This is despite the fact that Prasad announced various freight cuts like five per cent on petrol and diesel, 14 per cent on fly ash and six per cent for goods carried to the northeast.
Rs 800 crore for the current fiscal following an 8.2 per cent increase in freight loading in the first nine months, Prasad said, has revised freight earnings.
"Based upon the current trend, we have increased the budgeted target of freight loading for the year 2007-08 from 785 MT to 790 MT," the Railway Minister said.
Passenger earnings are projected to increase by eight per cent to Rs 21,681 crore next fiscal over revised estimates of Rs 20,075 crore in the current financial year, Prasad said.
This despite a seven per cent cut in AC-I class fares; four per cent in AC-II class fares and five per cent reduction in second-class mail/express train fares.
In the current financial year, passenger earnings have registered an increase of 14 per cent in the first nine months, leading to revision in the revenue.