Law Ministry considers tariff regulator for Railways via executive order

sibal_jpg_1273459fNEW DELHI: The Law Ministry is to look into the proposal of setting up a tariff regulator in the railway sector through an executive order. In effect, the Government is looking to set up a regulatory body without the nod from Parliament.

PTI adds: “RTA (Rail Tariff Authority) has got in-principle approval from the Cabinet. But since setting it up through an Act of Parliament will take some time, the Law Ministry and Railways will examine whether it will be set up through an executive order,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal told presspersons here today.

The Law Ministry and Railways will work out details for the formation of RTA, the first-of-its-kind body for the national transporter, to periodically suggest tariff levels for both freight and passenger fares taking into account input costs (diesel, electricity) and volatile market conditions.

RTA will be a five-member body headed by a Chairman.

“We need to take it forward through executive action,” Sibal added.

The Authority, mooted by former Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi in his Rail Budget for 2012-13, was pursued by his successors C.P. Joshi, Pawan Kumar Bansal and present incumbent Mallikarjun Kharge.

The need for setting up the RTA, which is intended to be immune from political interference, has been felt due to a rise in the cost of running trains and the need to insulate the Railways from hikes in fuel and electricity prices. One of its objectives would also be to eliminate uncertainties in tariff formulation.