New Delhi: The Indian Railways hiked passenger fares across the board in all classes on Wednesday for the first time in 10 years. The decision came barely a month before the Budget Session of Parliament. With this the railways is expected to earn an extra revenue of Rs 6,600 crore.
The suspense and ten years of populism was put to rest. An across the board increase in passenger fares - in the name of passenger amenities and safety - a message from the Congress that it means business since it took charge of the ministry for the first time in 16 years earlier in 2012.
This fare hike means Rs 6,600 crore of extra revenues for the railways. The railways also hopes that the hike will earn it an additional revenue of Rs 1,200 crores till March 31 and more funds for expansion and modernisation.
And as expected, Mukul Roy, the man who who announced the controversial rollback after Dinesh Trivedi's rail budget in 2012, gave the hike a thumbs down. "Trinamool Congress is strongly protesting this decision of fare hike. TMC will organise protest rallies and meetings across the state from tomorrow," said Roy.
If the end of 2012 was about UPA-II mustering courage to break the perception of policy paralysis, this fare hike the first in ten years could well be the beginning of a series of big bang reforms announcements.