Indian Railways has not been able to meet its revenue targets for the past four years since April 2015 with earnings from passenger and freight segments falling short of yearly aim.
A review of data provided by the ministry of railways to the Lok Sabha shows that there has been a continuous shortfall in the revenue earned vis-à-vis respective targets and even in the current financial year till November, earnings have remained short of respective proportionate targets by around 3.2 percent.
While the railways aimed to generate total revenue of around Rs 1.13 lakh crore in the current financial year till November, it could only manage to reach earnings amounting to Rs 1.09 lakh crore, data provided by minister of state for railways Rajen Gohain showed.
Out of the earnings realised during the current fiscal till November, revenue from passenger segment was almost 2 percent below the proportionate target at Rs 33,900.14 crore and that from freight was at Rs 75,038.13 crore, nearly 3.8 percent lower than the target.
“Earning shortfall against Budget Proportionate in passenger is due to drop in non-suburban non-PRS passengers (long-distance unreserved travel) and goods mainly due to adjustment of the freight advance taken in 2017-18,” Railways stated as a reason behind the shortfall for the current financial year.
Out of the 18 railway zones, South Western zone emerged as the worst performer with total earnings falling 13.4 percent below target while West Central zone was the best performer by earning 4 percent more than the target for the current year.
In fact, only five out of 18 zones have been able to surpass their respective aim for the current financial year so far. These include Central, Northeast Frontier, South Central and Southern.
“Seen from the overall context, Railways have not incurred any operating loss so far but have generated ‘surplus’ of various magnitudes after meeting all revenue expenditure. However, there are certain zones which are not able to generate excess over their revenue expenditure as their revenue expenditure exceeds their revenue receipts,” the minister of state said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
Railways’ earnings also fell short of aim during the three financial years ending March 2018 with actual revenue lower by the target by as much as 4 percent in 2016-17 (April-March).
Less than targeted loading in iron ore, average freight lead and originating passengers booked in reserved and long-distance travel were various reasons given by Railways behind lower-than-aim earnings during the three financial years.