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CAG Report Being Used Selectively, Railways To Reply To Parliament Soon: Govt Sources
On the issue of track renewal as part of the safety component, the official figures of the ministry show an increase in the funds allocated during the period of 2017-2018 to 2021-2022
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In response to the CAG report being cited by certain quarters related to the expense on safety by the Indian Railways, government sources have said that this information is being selectively used.
Top sources have said that expenditure on all projects of Indian Railways, including safety-related works, is funded from three major sources. "Gross budgetary support, internal generation of Indian railways and external borrowing are the three heads for funding", the sources said. "Government set up a dedicated non-lapsable fund, Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) in 2017, with a corpus of Rs.1 lakh crore to be utilised over a period of five years starting 2017-2018, for critical safety-related works", government sources further said.
As per the official data from the Ministry of Railways, in the period from 2017-2018 to 2021-2022, Railways spent more than Rs 1 lakh crore on RRSK works. In February 2022, the Government of India extended the validity of RRSK by another five years, starting 2022-2023.
On the issue of track renewal as part of the safety component, the official figures of the ministry show an increase in the funds allocated during the period of 2017-2018 to 2021-2022. From Rs 8884 crore, in 2017-2018, the expenditure on track renewal increased to Rs 13,522 crore in 2020-2021 and Rs 16,558 crore in 2021-2022. The total spending on track renewal was Rs 58,045 crore during this period.
The expenditure on track renewal on Indian Railways has increased from Rs 47,039 crore during 2004-2005 to 2013-2014 to Rs 1,09,023 crore during 2014-2015 to 2023-2024 which is nearly double the figure, as per the official records.
Report number 22 of 2022, of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on "Derailment in Indian Railways" was laid on the floor of the house on 21 December 2022. As a matter of practice, the railway ministry will soon be replying in detail to the findings of the report, the sources said.
"The coverage of RRSK utilisation, in the report, is limited to three years - 2017-2018, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Hence, it gives a partial picture of actual expenditure that has been undertaken on both track renewal as well as safety-related works by Indian Railways”, the govt sources said.
As per the data available, from 2005- 2014 the spend on railway safety has been Rs 1.64 lakh crore which has increased 5 times. Between 2014-2023-24 the figure stands at 8.26 lakh crore. (ANI)