Indian Railways proposing safety cess
Indian Railways is considering to implement safety cess on tickets to garner revenue to shore up passenger safety amenities. If the cess is imposed then passenger train tickets could see a marginal hike.
The cess is likely to be fixed at less than 2% of the total fare amount. Reeling under a Rs 32,000 crore debt burden, this move could soften the troubles of the Railways to a certain extent.
“We have to raise safety funds and the people will also have to give some support. We are considering all options”, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told reporters on Tuesday. He, however, did not say when the “safety cess” was likely to be introduced.
Indian Railways operates 19,000 trains daily and carries an estimated 23 million passengers, a number equal to the population of Australia, on its network of tracks running to nearly 64,000 kilometres.
A safety cess was last levied in 2002 during Nitish Kumar’s term as the railway minister to service a special fund of Rs 17,500 crore. The fund was set up to take up several tasks, including renovation of old bridges, besides signaling and track modernisation works.