New Delhi: Pushing its reform agenda, Railways has expedited the process for setting up a Rail Tariff Authority (RTA) and is awaiting the inter-ministerial response on it.
"Constituting Rail Tariff Authority is a priority for us. The inter-ministerial note is in circulation and we are expecting the response in about a week," new Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said here Friday.
The RTA, a big ticket reform in rail sector which is the first-of-its-kind for Railways, will suggest the level of tariff for both the freight and passenger fares from time to time taking into account the input cost (diesel and electricity) and volatile market conditions.
"After receiving the response from other ministries including Finance and Law, we will submit the proposal to the Cabinet for approval," Kumar said, adding, "It will also go to Parliament in the coming session for making certain amendments in the law."
According to sources, Railways has finalised the contour of the RTA and it is likely to be a five-member body headed by its chairman.
While a retired Railway Board member is being tipped to head the regulatory body, four other members from outside of Railways are being shortlisted.
Asked about the review of the fuel adjustment component, Kumar said the review is due in October.
Railways has formulated the policy on fuel adjustment component and is linked with energy and fuel prices and calculated accordingly.
While the freight has gone up by about 5.7 per cent from April 1 due to the linking of FAC in the freight tariff.
In fiscal 2013-14, the deregulation of diesel prices for bulk users, such as Railways, will add Rs 5,100 crore to the public transporter`s costs. The Railways will absorb the Rs 850 crore rise in passenger costs on this account.
In the light of deregulation of the HSD oil, Railways` finances need to be rationally insulated, and to this end a mechanism to neutralise the impact of fuel prices on operating expenses is required to be put in place.