New Delhi: Taking a serious view of the failure of the Railway Ministry to inform about Comptroller and Auditor General’s stand on appropriation of funds from the Capital Funds, a Parliamentary Committee has recommended that funds should be appropriated as suggested by CAG.
In its six-page report presented to Parliament today, the Railway Convention Committee expected that there will be no “recurrence” of such lapses in future and requested the Ministry to appropriate funds from Capital Fund through ‘Major Head 3006´ as suggested by the CAG.
The Committee also recommended that the existing principle governing interest on various Railway Fund balances placed in the Public Accounts of India may be allowed to continue during the year 2007-08.
It also agreed that the balances in the Railway Safety Fund and Special Railway Safety Fund may be treated free since both these funds have been constituted with the contribution from the General Revenue only.
Considering the remarkable performance of Railways as also rise in the Government’s average cost of borrowing, the Committee, purely as an interim measure, has recommended that for the year 2007-08, the rate of dividend to General Revenue be restored to 7.0% on entire capital invested on Railways from General revenues.
The Committee’s decision came after it considered the arguments put forth by the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Finance on the issue of restoring the rate of dividend to 7.0% as fixed for the year 2003-04 and the years before.
The Lok Sabha approved the Railway Budget for 2007-08, as it passed without discussion the Appropriation Bill that authorises payment of over Rs 1,30,000 crore to the railways for meeting expenditure.The demands for grants for the financial year were also passed by a voice vote after Railway Minister Lalu Prasad moved the motion for passing the Bill and the demands. On safety fund, the railways has been allocated a total of Rs 1,941 crore, according to the appropriation bill.
There was discussion on the security systems in railways. As many as 185 railway stations, including some of the stations in the national capital and 17 metro stations, have been identified as vulnerable from the security point of view.
Stating this in Lok Sabha on 26 April, Minister of State for Railways R Velu said security systems at these stations will be upgraded and the steps that were being taken included installing modern security gadgets like CCTVs, deep search metal detectors and scanner machines.
Some of the stations in the capital like Delhi Main, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin are “highly sensitive and vulnerable from security point of view”, Velu said in a written reply in the House.
In reply to another query, Velu said, “As per intelligence inputs, Indian Railways is a soft target for terrorists in India.”
He said steps were being taken to provide adequate security at all the important railway stations that include installation of modern security gadgets.
Among other measures, specialised training was being imparted to Railway Protection Force officers and other staff to be alert against any adverse situation like terrorist attack.