Railways gets flak for not consulting Fin Ministry, plan panel
New Delhi: Asking Railways to desist from the temptation of announcing non-feasible schemes and not to "mislead" people, a parliamentary panel has taken a critical view of its functioning for not consulting Finance Ministry and Planning Commission before finalising big projects.
Taking note of the announcement of the Pradhan Mantri Rail Vikas Yojana (PMRVY) scheme in the Rail Budget 2011-12, the Railways Convention Committee in its latest report has found that the scheme was not even discussed with the Planning Commission before its finalisation by the Railways.
The PMRVY envisages inclusion of 114 socially desirable rail projects under the scheme across the country.
The committee noted that the additional funding assistance required is assessed to be about Rs 5 lakh crore under PMRVY from the government.
The 18-member committee headed by BJD MP Arjun Charan Sethi was, however, apprised by the Finance Ministry that PMRVY scheme is totally unrealistic and is completely at variance with the ground reality.
The committee feels that Railways should have discussed the scheme with Finance Ministry and Planning Commission before its formulation and announcement in the Rail Budget 2011-12.
The panel has found that 114 socially desired projects whose survey reports have been updated are proposed to be included in the list of project under PMRVY scheme. The scheme envisages creation of non lapsable fund of the order Rs 5,00,000 cr towards investment in the Railways over next 10 years.
It has disapproved railways approach to switch over from one scheme to another without ensuring implementation or even having any serious discussion of the proposals in their long term policies such as PMRVY and Vision 2020.
It has suggested that the Railways, being a big organisation, should not "mislead the people" by announcing schemes without any concrete basis and support.
"Railways should while conceptualising large schemes involving huge expenditure consult the Finance Ministry and Planning Commission which are nodal agencies of the government that supervises the overall development plans of the country," it observed.
The committee has recommended that the Railways desist from temptation of announcing non-feasible schemes without having financial support, rather they should emphasise that the Railways first prioritise and focus financial closure of their projects and announce any such scheme only after due consultation with Finance Ministry and Planning Commission.
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