ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The National Assembly was told that Pakistan Railways recorded a deficit of 51 percent from April to October 2022, the tenure of the incumbent government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Replying to a question, the Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique told the House in writing on Friday that from April to October 2022, the revenue and expenditure of Pakistan Railways remained at Rs 33,764.332 and Rs 69,084.928 respectively, registering a deficit of Rs 35,3019.596 which is 51.12 percent.
The minister told that one major reason for high deficit is suspension of major train operation for a period of 36 days during flood in August 2022.
Saad Rafique said that the budget deficit is always covered through the financial assistance provided by the federal government in the shape of grant in aid. He said that the federal government has provided Rs 47.000 billion during 2021-22 and Rs 45.000 billion during 2022-23 for this purpose.
As per the minister, the following are main reasons of Railways deficit:
- The deficit of Pakistan Railways started in 1974 and since then Pakistan Railways has regularly sought help from the federal government to fill the resources gap.
- The expenditure on regular salaries of approximately 64,000 employees and monthly pension to approximately 125,000 pensioner is more than Rs 75.000 billion per year.
- Similarly, approximately Rs 30.000 billion is estimated to be incurred on High-Speed Diesel (HSD) during the current Financial Year.
- In addition to expenditure on Salaries, pension, HSD and Utilities, repair and maintenance of locomotives, passenger carriages, wagons and service & residential buildings is also carried out of the available resources.
The following steps have been taken to improve financial condition of Pakistan Railways:
- Introduction of RAABTA an initiative towards enhanced customer facilitation. RAABTA platform lets customers plan the trip, check train status, choose seat, purchase seat, order car rental, meals and refreshment, and book hotels.
- Pakistan Railways is trying its utmost to improve the punctuality of trains. Every train is being monitored and every detention of train is reviewed and rectified.
- To facilitate passengers, a mobile application ”Pakrail live” has been launched for real time tracking of trains. Due to close monitoring of trains at Divisional, Headquarters and mMinistry level, the punctuality of trains has improved from 63 percent to 80 percent.
- Pakistan Railways resumed Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Cargo Train on 21-12-2021 after nine years. This project is will maximize the economic efficiency through regional connectivity.
- High Capacity/High Speed Hopper Trucks have been inducted in the current fleet for swift movement/ unloading of coal and new High-Capacity High Speed rolling stock i.e Coaches and Wagons are being procured.
- Online E-Ticketing through Jazz Cash, UBL Omini and credit cards has been introduced to facilitate passengers at door step and to attract more passenger through outsourcing of noncore activity.
- A policy for transfer of technology is being pursued collaboration with People’s Republic of China for indigenization of Railway Rolling Stock in Pakistan Railways facilities.
- Pakistan Railways is handing over its residential colonies to DISCOs/K-Electric for direct billing in order to minimize impact of difference of tariff and line losses on electricity bills. It is estimated that total amount of Rs 1,800.000 million will be saved.
- 230 High Speed Coaches (160 KM/H) of international standard will be inducted in Pakistan Railways fleet soon.
- Procurement of 820 High-Capacity Wagons of international standard is at advanced stage.