Finance panel takes stock of Railway finances

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New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday apprised the 15th Finance Commission of measures taken by the Indian Railways to transform its operations and make trains more comfortable and safes for commuters.

The panel held an interaction with the Minister and senior railway officials here to understand the Railway finances.

During the interaction, Goyal highlighted that the Railways was conscious of its dual responsibilities, both in social and economic spheres while seeking commercial viability.

“Being an integral part of inclusive national development, railways have important social and economic functions to perform. Balancing social compulsions with economic viability is always challenging,” he said, as per a statement.

The Minister further stressed that Railways is undergoing transformation in thinking and its operations by using its resources more effectively.

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‘Safety first’ is the motto of railways, the statement said.

Railway officials also highlighted recent measures to improve passenger comfort, strengthen infrastructure, increasing speed and reduce idling time.

“Detailed discussions were held on medium term programme to improve capital expenditure in various initiatives like speed up electrification, doubling of track, technical upgrading and modernising the signals, making railways open defecation free and environment friendly,” the statement said.

The Commission led by Chairman N.K. Singh highlighted measures to further improve the productivity like monetising assets in multiple forums, speeding up pace of projects under implementation, long-term need for rationalization of portfolios and fares for a realistic medium term revenue and expenditure projections.

The panel is in the process of assessing the finances of both Central government ministries and state finances.

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