Facing the financial crunch over Rs 50,000 crore outgo as pension to more than 15.5 lakh former railway employees, the railways has asked the Finance Ministry to set up the pension fund, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Chairman Railway Board V.K. Yadav said, "About 25 per cent of the railways' earnings goes into paying the pensions to the former railway employees. And this amount shoots over Rs 50,000 crore. Thus we have requested the Finance Ministry for the pension fund."
The Chairman said the railways also pays salaries to its 12.5 lakh employees, which takes a major chunk of the railways' earnings. The chairman also accepted that the railways this year, is feeling the heat of the operating ratio and it would not be able to control it by 97 per cent. Last year, the operating ratio for the railways was 97 per cent, while this year it has gone up to 98.44 per cent.
Mr Yadav said: "No doubt the railways is facing financial challenges. To meet the financial crisis, the railways is doing a lot of things. Things will start improving in the next few months."
The Indian Railways recorded an operating ratio of 98.44 per cent in 2017-18, the worst in the last 10 years, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report tabled in Parliament on December 2.
According to railway officials, the operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against revenue and it shows how efficiently the national transporter is operating and how healthy its finances are.