The Union Finance Ministry has agreed to contribute partially to a new dedicated railway safety fund named as ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ in the upcoming Union Budget 2017-18.
The proposed safety fund will be utilised for track improvement, bridge rehabilitation, rolling stock replacement, human resource development, improved inspection system and safety work at level crossing, among other things.
- The Finance Ministry is likely to grant a fresh infusion of only Rs. 5,000 crore in the upcoming financial year out of the initial proposed corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore.
- About Rs. 10,000 crore will be earmarked from the Central Road Fund (CRF) that is collected by levying a cess on diesel and petrol at present for safety-related work.
- Railways may now be asked to fund the remaining Rs. 5,000 crore for the initial corpus from its own resources.
- For this Indian Railway’s may either have to bring back a cess on rail tickets to finance its share of Rail Safety Fund or look to fund it from non-budgetary resources.
The Railway Ministry had requested the Union Finance Ministry to create ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’, a ‘non-lapsable’ safety fund of Rs. 20,000 crore over five years. Its request was based on the recommendations of a high-level safety review committee headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman Atomic Energy Commission. The Committee, in its report submitted in 2012, had projected an investment requirement of Rs. 1 lakh crore on safety over five years.