Financials pose big challenge as stage is set for another railway budget
A cash strapped Indian Railways, which runs 10,500 trains and ferries 22 million passengers daily over 64,000 km of track, is looking at an earnings shortfall of Rs.7,000 crore.
Poor financial management has left Indian Railways staring at an earnings shortfall despite gross budgetary support of Rs.20,000 crore last year and a Rs.3,000 crore loan approved by the finance ministry Feb 6.
"It is an unprecedented situation," a senior railway official commented on condition of anonymity while describing the financial crisis.
Recently, two expert panels, headed by former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar and prime minister's adviser Sam Pitroda, said the railways would need around Rs.9 lakh crore over the next five years to follow the safety and modernisation road map suggested by them.
No one knows where the money will come from.
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