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Railway Ministry likely to axe salaries and pensions due to financial cash crunch

The advent of COVID-19 has hit the country’s lowest blows with implications deteriorating the India economy, in another major blow to Centre’s aspirations of boosting major infrastructure sectors, the Indian Railways, one of the key stimulators of nations’ growth and economy has sought immediate interventions of finance ministry as it is deprived and unable meet its pension expenditure of Rs 53,000 crores for 2020-21, and has appealed North Block to take over its pension liability for this fiscal year.

With around 13 lakh employees and roughly 15 lakh pensioners Indian Railways now seem incapable to pay its pensioners, raising alarm bells for the dwindling situations, bringing to questions their capability to even pay salaries to its lakhs of employees across India in the long run.

Owing to a financial crunch, the railways ministry has revealed that all of its infrastructure projects will be affected. The red flags were raised by the railway ministry at a meeting called at the Prime Minister’s Office with top officials of Central ministries to take stock of the infrastructure sector.

Even as the railway ministry’s financial condition has hit the skids the Centre’s ambitious plan to innovate big ticket infrastructures projects in the next five years, with plans to entail an expenditure of Rs 102 lakh crores under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) till 2024 is going down the drain of delays.

Highly-placed sources said the PMO was informed of the fact that even in 2019-20, the railway ministry could not supplement the same amount (Rs 53,000 crores) in its pension fund, which had left it with a huge negative closing balance of around Rs 28,000 crores.

Rail Bhavan top officials have thus sought urgent redressal from the country’s finance ministry. Sources reveal during the top-level discussions, it was indicated that the high debt servicing liability had restricted the Railways’ capabilities to generate resources internally, which severely impacted its fund availability for critical projects.



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