Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Railways Act to be amended to bring in Rail Tariff Authority

New Delhi, Aug 5, 2013, DHNS:
The government will amend Railways Act to provide for a Rail Tariff Authority (RTA), which will recommend passenger and freight fares.


Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge Monday told Deccan Herald, “The body will be formed through an executive order and would be on the lines similar of the Pension Regulatory Authority. We will amend Railways Act to make provisions for RTA,” Kharge said on the sidelines of the Railway Sports Championship event.

He said that the authority will be advisory in nature.  The RTA had made news following last week’s cabinet meeting as different versions of the body were reported in the media. There was also confusion over whether the cabinet had approved it or not.

Kharge clarified that the cabinet has approved it. He did admit that some points are to be clarified.

There were differences over the structure and jurisdiction of the authority. Many in the government wanted it to be a statutory body completely independent of railways.

That would have required a separate bill to be passed providing for for the proposed authority. In that case it would have the authority to fix fares and freight charges, which would be mandatory in nature.

Railways prevailed on the government to keep it a recommendatory body. It argued that since railways does not compete with any other service provider, there is no need to have a regulatory body on the lines of the bodies prevailing in other sectors like insurance and telecom.

Now, the tariff authority would be under the purview of the railways and the latter would reserve the right to modify its recommendations.

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