The Fifteenth Finance Commission held productive interaction with Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Chairman, railway Board and other officials in New Delhi today to understand the railway finances. While being transparent, officials also highlighted recent measures to improve passenger comfort, strengthen infrastructure, increasing speed, reduce idling time. Detailed discussions were held on medium term programme to improve capital expenditure in various initiatives like speed up electrification, doubling of track, technical upgrading and modernising the signals, making railways ODFand environment friendly.Minister highlighted that Railways is conscious of its dual responsibilities, both in social and economic spheres while seeking commercial viability. Being an integral part of inclusive national development, railways have important social and economic functions to perform.Balancing social compulsions with economic viability is always challenging. Minister further stressed that Railways is undergoing transformation in thinking and its operations by using its resources more effectively. ‘Safety First’ is the motto of railways.
Commission led by Chairman Sh. N. K. Singh highlighted other measures to further improve the productivity like monetising assets in multiple forums, speeding up pace of projects under implementation, long term need for rationalization of portfolios and fares for a realistic medium term revenue and expenditure projections.This was critical for enabling the commission to take a view of Railway Finances and its overall draft on Central Finances between 2020 and 2025, the period to be covered by the current Finance Commission. Commission is in the process of assessing the finances of both Union Govt. ministries and state finances. Fifteen Finance Commission team led by the Chairman Sh. N. K. Singh consisted of members Sh. Shaktikanta Das, Dr. Anoop Singh, Dr. Ashok Lahiri, Dr. Ramesh Chand and Secretary Sh. Arvind Mehta.