The Cabinet Thursday deferred taking up the issue of the formation of the Rail Tariff Authority despite it being on the agenda because the proposed dual nature of the authority’s mandate would require further deliberation, sources said.
As proposed in the Cabinet note, the authority would be more than just recommendatory body fixing the bracket of increase and decrease of rail fares and freight taking into account input costs, expenditure, budget and market conditions. But the final nod would still be taken by the government. Some parts of the Railways Act 1989 would also need to be amended. In that it will be different from other tariff regulatory bodies in sectors like telecom and power.
“This duality of its nature requires some parts of it to be passed by the legislature and some parts to be passed by the executive. That’s why it requires more deliberations and would be taken up later,” a senior government official said.
Mooted by former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi in the 2012-13 Rail Budget, the making of the authority has been a work in progress for the past one year and gained traction after the TMC’s exit from the UPA and the Rail Ministry. Former railways minister P K Bansal too had mentioned it in his 2013-14 Rail Budget.