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Thursday, June 11, 2015

High Level Railway Restructuring Committee,

Bibek Debroy Committee Report 

Report of the Committee for Mobilization of Resources for Major Railway Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry and Railway Board

The report, accessed  makes the existence of an independent, quasi-judicial Railway Regulatory Authority of India a prerequisite in five years for reforms like un-bundling and restructuring of Railways.The Rail Budget as we know it, should cease to exist after that, it says.

“Once the changes of the first five years are implemented, including the resolution of the social costs issue, the Railway Budget should be phased out,” the report says adding that the government should take the entire burden of social cost borne by Railways by way of subsidy.

Separation of railway track construction, train operations, and rolling-stock production units under different entities to enable open access can happen only after after that, it says. The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation Limited (DFCCL), the report recommends, should be made autonomous and separated from Indian Railways so that it gives non-discriminatory access to both Indian Railways and private operators. Operators should be able to pay directly to DFCCL without having to interact with Railways. 

As the tone of the interim report on the subject of private entry was criticised by unions and the bureaucracy, the final report is more cautious. “It needs to be understood that this Committee does not recommend privatization of Indian Railways,” it says, adding, “It does, however endorse private entry… with the provison of an independent regulator. This Committee prefers use of the word liberalization and not privatization or deregulation, as both the latter are apt to misinterpretation.” - 

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