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Panel recommends waiving dividend by railways for a year

by Manish Sen
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New Delh: Keeping the Railways’ financial condition in mind, a parliamentary committee has recommended waiving dividend payable by the national transporter to the Exchequer for the 2016-17 fiscal as a one-time move.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Government, while deciding the merger of two budgets from 2017-18 fiscal, has already decided to do away with the practice of dividend payment by Railways to Finance Ministry.

The Railway Convention Committee in its latest report has also asked Railways to undertake effective measures to ensure higher internal revenue generation in all segments and contribute more to the General Exchequer.

The committee headed by BJD MP Bhartuhari Mahtab noted the precarious state of railway finances especially owing to the adverse impact of the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission which had severely dented the internal resources generation.

The committee in its report tabled in Parliament also recommended that all concessions of rate of dividend/reliefs now available on residential buildings, new lines, subsidies from General Revenues be allowed to continue on the existing basis for the year 2016-17.

The committee noted that despite merger of Rail Budget with General Budget from the next fiscal, the Railways will continue to maintain its distinct entity as a departmentally run commercial undertaking and will also continue to meet all its revenue expenditure including ordinary working expenses, pay, allowances and pensions from revenue receipts.

Railways will continue to receive gross budgetary support from the government towards meeting part of its capital expenditure.

The 18-member committee has observed in its report that notwithstanding the merger of railway finances with General Finances, the basic structure of the organisation is not going to alter and railways will continue to operate on commercial principles besides fulfilling its social obligations.

PTI

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