The Indian Railways is likely to hike passenger fares for all trains and classes this week. The increase in fare may range from 5 to 40 paise per kilometer, according to a report in Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar.
The proposal had received approval from the Prime Minister's Office in November but announcement was reportedly delayed owing to the ongoing Assembly elections in Jharkhand.
The Railways has been battling an increased pressure on finances in the wake of an economic slowdown. And since there's little scope of increasing freight charges due to stiff competition from road transport, Railways is eyeing an increase in revenue from the passenger segment, which has not seen any direct increase in fares in the last few years. Meanwhile, government did take measures like introduction of flexi-fare system for some trains and changes in refund system to increase revenues.
In September 2019, Railways had recorded decline in its overall revenues for second straight month and at 38-months high pace of 4.2 per cent to Rs 13169.20 crore in September 2019. In October, the decline was even sharper at 7.8 per cent. According to a Times of India report, Railways faced a revenue shortfall of close to Rs 19,412 crore during April-October, while total expenditure went up by Rs 4,099 crore to Rs 1.01 trillion as against a target of Rs 97,265 crore for the period.