Railways close to revenue goals
Just a day before Nitish Kumar presents his third Railway budget, he has a mix of good and bad news about the revenue of the organisation. While the passenger revenue has exceeded the proportionate target till December, the freight loading revenue target is set to fall short.
Non-traditional sources of revenue continue to be a non-starter, but the Railways have managed modest savings to part-offset the shortfall.
The overall shortfall in gross traffic receipts of the Railways stood at Rs 7.70 billion till the end of December 2001, a senior railway ministry official told Business Standard.
The shortfall for the entire year was expected to be contained at Rs 10 billion, he said. The budget estimate for gross traffic receipts for 2001-02 is Rs 252.35 billion.
Freight loading figures up to January 2002 reflect a shortfall of 2.4 per cent. While the Railways had hoped to carry 412.15 million tonnes of revenue earning goods in the first 10 months of the current fiscal, freight loading for the period stood at 402.27 million tonnes. The target for the full year is 500 million tonnes.
The revenue shortfall is also expected along similar lines. While the proportionate freight revenue target up to January could not be confirmed, the official said earnings in the first ten months of the current fiscal stood at Rs 204.57 billion.
Passenger earnings had been buoyant, with the Railways garnering Rs 85.95 billion till December 2001 against a proportionate target of Rs 85.37 billion, the official said. Passenger earnings for the entire year were projected at Rs 113.87 billion.
The other good news for the Railways is on the savings front. The Railways had hoped to pare their ordinary working expenses for the year by Rs 10.90 billion, a target which may well be exceeded given that they have cut the expenditure by Rs 11.63 billion till December.
The ordinary working expenses for the year had been put at Rs 311.90 billion, but later, were revised downward to Rs 291 billion, he said, adding the final expenditure would be even lower.
The news on the non-traditional sources of revenue, however, continues to be grim. The Rs 7-billion expected to be generated through right-of-way from the broadband foray was not expected to materialise during the year, while funds from harnessing land resources and commercial publicity had reached barely Rs 1 billion against the target of Rs 3 billion during the year, he said.
The suspense account, which is the outstanding dues of the Railways, has bloated to Rs 23.49 billion till the end of November last year from just over Rs 10 billion two years back.
Nearly 80 per cent of the dues were accounted for by thermal power plants, which had not paid up for the coal carried by the Railways for them, the official said, adding different zones had been instructed to carry coal for power plants only on a `cash-and-carry' basis.
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