A parliamentary panel has suggested that the Finance Ministry should consider taking over a part of the pension liability of the railways, if not in full, as it is being done in all other ministries.
The Railway Convention Committee on Internal Resource Generation has said that the impact of pension payment on the railways at the moment is around Rs 50,000 crore annually.
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, in his submission to the board, has said that the pension orders of all the pensioners who have retired prior to January, 2016, be revised.
Mr Lohani said that it has been mandated that the Ministry of Railways’ expenditure has to be met out of the income and it is only the Ministry of Railways which bears its pension liability and for everyone else it is borne by the Ministry of Finance.
“I would like to submit here that when it comes down to devising the salary structure and the pension structure, the Ministry of Railways has no say in that.
“The decision is taken by different ministry, irrespective of whether it is Rs 3,000 crore or Rs 5,000 crore…it is the Ministry of Railways which is expected to generate these additional resources,” he said.
The committee agreed with Mr Lohani and said that the Railway Board should approach the Ministry of Finance for the same.
“The Railway Board has thus suggested that the pension liability of the railways be taken over by the Finance Ministry as it is being done in all other cases. The committee find some merits in the contention of the Ministry of Railways as the huge impact of the pension liability is adversely affecting internal resource generation by the railways,” it said.
“The committee desires that the Railway Board take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance and other appropriate authorities so that at least a part of pension liabilities of the railways, if not full, is borne by the Finance Ministry,” the committee said.
In its report submitted in the Lok Sabha earlier this week, the committee has said that they were deeply concerned to find that during the last five years – from 2013-3014 to 2017-2018, there have been shortfalls on the part of the railways in achieving internal revenue generation targets, except in 2014-2015.
During 2013-2014, 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 the shortfall was of Rs 2,828 crore, Rs 769 crore, Rs 2,782 crore and Rs 8,238 crore respectively.