indian railway suresh prabhu indian railways passengers traffic station
Good roads and low airfares are affecting passenger traffic growth at Indian Railways, Suresh Prabhu told a website. In Picture: A woman holds an umbrella while waiting to board a train during a heavy rain shower at a railway station in Kolkata Sep. 20, 2014 (repreentational image).Reuters file

The government wants you to know how much it spends as subsidy on your railway tickets. Why? Well, possibly because this will help the railways "rationalise" ticket prices further. 

Henceforth, every ticket purchased will have printed information on how much the government paid for it, Press Trust of India reported. 

"Awareness is a must as it will lead to the rationalisation of fares which is required for the survival of the Railways," said Mohd Jamshed, member of the Railway Board (Traffic). 

All tickets booked at the counter, through online and even the unreserved ones today, display subsidy information for the journey, said the report.

At present, Indian railways recovers only 57 percent of the travel cost on passenger tickets (on an average). In suburban services, the recovery is lower at 37 percent, Jamshed told PTI.

Passenger services too have its share of concerns, noted Jamshed. He added that 52 percent of traffic within the segment comes from the suburban and short-haul trains, which contributes a mere 6 to 7 percent of the total passenger revenues. Last year, the sub-sector gobbled up 60 percent of Rs. 34,000 allotted as for the entire passenger services segment.

The loss of Rs. 34,000 crore is cross-subsidised by the earnings from the freight revenue. A segment that has witnessed regular hike in prices of freight services in each annual budget.

The government has consistently increased revenues in both segments, with freight witnessing regular hike in prices in each budget.