Sucheta Dalal :Indian Railways white paper may expose true state of finances
Sucheta Dalal

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Indian Railways white paper may expose true state of finances   

November 17, 2009


The much-awaited white paper on the Indian Railways is likely to be tabled in the coming session of Parliament, bringing forth its financial position and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's claim of turning around the State-run behemoth, reports PTI.
A senior Indian Railways official said, "It (the white paper) is almost ready and final touches are being given to it. It will have certain basic data on Indian Railways' operational and financial condition."
While presenting the rail budget in Parliament, railway minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to come out with a white paper on organisational, operational and financial status of Indian Railways based on the past five years’ performance and develop Vision-2020 with long- and short-term strategy and plan of action.
While former minister Mr Yadav had put the surplus funds with the Indian Railways at Rs90,000 crore, Ms Banerjee had said that a corpus of Rs8,361 crore remained after expenditure of Rs13,600 crore on account of the Pay Commission award last year and Rs2,600 crore this year.
Claiming that surplus funds were not available, Ms Banerjee had recently said, "There was no money to install anti-collision devices."
The Indian Railways has constituted a committee comprising senior officials to prepare the white paper.
On being asked about the contents of the white paper, Ms Banerjee had said, "I have committed to Parliament and I would submit it there only."
However, the controversial Land Acquisition Bill may not be introduced in the winter session given the railway minister's opposition to the legislation.
Ms Banerjee has said that the government should have no role in acquiring land for private projects.

-- Sucheta Dalal