Railway Revenue: Between 2017 and 2021, Indian Railways earned less income than the target from non-passenger fare sources such as catering, advertising, parking, resting places. However, by selling scrap or scrap, he got more than the target amount.
Information received from the CAG report
This information has been received from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) compliance audit report on Railways presented during the recently concluded budget session of Parliament. In this, during the year 2017-21, the account of railway’s income in four years has been presented. The CAG has said that the Railway Board had started the policy of advertisement through movable assets in January 2017. The objective of this policy was to facilitate the Indian Railways to introduce combined train packages equipped with internal and external advertisements. RITES was appointed by the Railway Board as a consultant.
The report said that in February 2018, the Railway Board decided to hand over the management of the bid to the Zonal Railways due to the delay in awarding the agreement by RITES. Various contracts were finalized by Zonal Railways under this policy during the period from 2018-19 to 2020-21. According to the report, scrutiny of records revealed that Indian Railways earned Rs 93.25 crore (28.28 per cent) in 14 Zonal Railways, while the estimated earnings were fixed at Rs 329.70 crore.
It states that except in the year 2017-18, the original target of earning income from car/scooter parking at stations was not achieved by the Indian Railways during the period under review. “As against the original target of Rs 956 crore, the actual income was Rs 613 crore, resulting in a shortfall of Rs 343 crore (36 per cent) in revenue,” the CAG said.
Railway Board had prepared a new catering policy in 2017 but the sales target was not achieved
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s report states that in 2017, the Railway Board prepared a new catering policy. As per this policy, the Indian Railway Catering and Transport Corporation (IRCTC) was made responsible for catering services from mobile catering units, base kitchens, cell kitchens, refreshment rooms, food plazas at A1 and A category stations.
It said that a test check of income in 32 divisions of Zonal Railways revealed that against the target of Rs 72.34 crore (fixed license fee as per agreement) on account of catering during the year 2017-21, Rs 58.54 crore was spent. License fee was charged. This resulted in short realization of Rs 13.81 crore as license fee.
Good earning through scrap
According to the report, in the recent past, scrap has been identified as a high priority area for generation of internal resources to finance railways. The CAG audit found that the Indian Railways earned Rs 11,645 crore from the sale of scrap during 2017-21 against a target of Rs 11,418 crore. According to the report, a test check of income in 32 selected divisions of Zonal Railways revealed that the total income from retiring rooms during the year 2017-21 was Rs 48.17 crore. It has been said that from the review of various records of rent leased to outside parties, PSUs and government offices in selected divisions of Zonal Railways, it has been found that an amount of Rs 23.32 crore was outstanding till March 31, 2021.
It has become difficult for Indian Railways to achieve the target
According to the CAG, the share of non-fare revenue as a percentage of receipts declined year-on-year despite the Railways launching a new earning drive in 2017-18. It decreased from 2.35 per cent of miscellaneous income in the year 2017-18 to 0.04 per cent in the year 2020-21. Thus, the Indian Railways’ target of making revenue from non-fare sources 10 per cent of total receipts has remained elusive, the report said.
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