Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda says the raise in rail charges is the decision of last Government being implemented now.
Rail passenger charges are hiked only for the second time in twelve years. The rail charges unchanged since 2002 were amended in 2013-13 railway budget. A rise of paise 2 per km to a maximum of paise 30 per km was raised. In 2002-03 charges for all classes were changed.
On a small or big scale charges were raised during the years from 1996-97 to 1999-2000. Only AC rail fares were increase during 1996-97 and 1999-2000. All classes fares were increased during 1997-98 from 5 10%. UPA Government increased fares on goods to 5.79%. The then Railway Minister Bansal opined that the revision of fares every year is necessary because of the increase in the diesel rates.
Now, the proposal is to raise passenger fares by 14.2% and goods fares by 6.5%. The present Government says that the hike in the railway fares was the decision of previous Government which is reluctantly implemented by the present Government.
The Railway Minister Sadanad Gowda says that the Government is forced to implement it. The withholding order, as Gowda says, is only withdrawn by the present Government.
No doubt the rise is going to make the NDA Government unpopular but, the Government apparently wants to implement it but throw the blame on the previous Government. If a decision is found not right, the Government in power has all the powers to stop it. The Government in power cannot be forced to take a decision by a previous Government. Instead of blaming the previous Government, the Modi Government can explain why a price hike is needed.
As the decision to fare hike is announced much earlier it is subjected to comments and controversies. The Modi Government also knows that the Congress Government can object for it as it directly influences cost of commodities. If the proposal has still to be pushed forward there must be some valid reason found by the Modi Government. People like to hear that reason but not a reason like the previous Government’s decision was forced to be implemented.