NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today said the government will put in place a new mechanism for revising passenger fares and freight rates.
"Whenever you raise fare, there are more questions raised than the fare rise. Therefore, we are trying to create a new mechanism whereby there will be a proper system that will be put in place (for revising fares), Prabhu said while replying to the debate on Railway Budget in the Lok Sabha.
Prabhu in his Railway Budget has not increased either passenger fares or freight charges.
He said the budget has taken several steps to reform the railway system.
There are many other important information in the Budget which talks about reforming the system itself. One is the project and the other is reforming the system itself, he said.
The Railway Regulatory Authority which is likely to be rechristened as Railway Development Authority and would undertake various developmental activities besides fixing freight rates and passenger fares.
An independent rail regulator has been recommended by most committees that have looked into railway reforms for over a decade.
Prabhu has already set the ball rolling to have a regulatory mechanism into reality and has suggested that the regulator s functions should include laying down the framework for monitoring of passenger and freight tariffs, Public Private Partnership projects and efficiency.
"Therefore, we are also trying to structure the Railway Board on a business line forming cross sectoral directorate and it is something on which we are also working. We are also working on planning and investment organisation," Prabhu said in the House.
He further said railways is trying to set up a holding company for the Railway PSUs creating a separate organisation called Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology and Holistic Advancement (SRESTHA) for research and development. We are also creating an organisation or a Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) for data analytics, making sure for 25 tonne axle load which will increase the speed and other things will also happen.
"All these things will in turn bring in structural reforms and structural changes in the Railways," he said.