New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The Lok Sabha on Tuesday adopted a resolution under which the Railway Ministry has questioned the practice of railways paying dividend to the government.
Pushing hard for unanimous adoption of the resolution, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu listed out a number of steps being taken by the railways to ensure higher investments, general improvement in services and infrastructures and to ensure that the national transporter does not lose the freight and traffic.
“We have taken a number of measures to take passengers back to the railways. We are bringing in new technology in order to ensure transparency,” he said at the end of the debate in which, among others, former Railway Minister and Trinamool member Dinesh Trivedi also participated.
The Lok Sabha had taken up the discussion on the resolution on Friday afternoon and it continued even on Monday.
Members discussed at length the rate at which the Railways should pay the dividends to the government at a time when the national transporter is financially overburdened, following the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission Report.
The resolution is actually moved in the spirit of recommendation of a Railway Convention Committee.
The resolution read: “That this House approves the recommendations contained in the First Report of Railway Convention Committee (2014), appointed to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to General Revenues and other ancillary matters, which was presented to both the Houses of Parliament on 22nd December, 2015.”
Railway Minister Prabhu on Friday had told Lok Sabha members that: “This paying dividend to the Finance Ministry is one area which really needs to be looked into. Why should the Railway pay dividend?”
The railways have further said that the “burden” on the railways is as high as Rs 30,000 crore.
This year, the railways are even more burdened with an additional burden Rs 30,000 crore on account of the recommendations of the Pay Commission.
In Monday’s discussions, the minister said the railway would be in contrast needing additional funding.
For its part, he said even the railways has been taking steps on its own to augment funds.
Many states have responded positively to the concept of joint ventures with railways and many more will be joining in future, he said.
To a query from Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Railway Minister said even from West Bengal government, the response has been positive.
“The chief minister there has been a railway minister herself. She (Mamata Banerjee) understands the situation. The support from Bengal Chief Minister has been as good as many other states,” Prabhu said.