The Planning Commission is believed to have impressed on the railway ministry the need to raise its own resources to fund vital infrastructure projects such as the ambitious Dedicated Rail Freight Corridor and high-speed bullet trains.
Steps to raise funds could include an across-the-board increase in railway fares, senior officials said.
The issue was discussed at a recent meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Officials said the commission was particularly concerned about the sharp rise in costs in the first phase of the freight corridor project.
According to Planning Commission officials, during 2012-13, the cost of building the first phase of the corridor had risen to about Rs 1,24,000 crore (Rs 1,240 billion), against the estimate of Rs 28,000 crore (Rs 280 billion).
"By the time the first phase is completed in 2017, the total cost will be much more than the earlier estimated Rs 80,000 crore (Rs 800 billion)," the official said.
He added to manage the rise in costs in mega projects, the railways had to generate its own resources, as a significant rise in budgetary support in the coming Budget was unlikely, owing to the government's strained financial resources.
Officials said the issue of setting up a rail freight authority was also discussed.