India partially rolls back steep railway fare hike

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 24, 2014 11:34 PM

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian government has partially rolled back a steep hike in rail passenger fares announced last week after protests from allies, saying there will be no increase in fares for many city commuters.

While only affecting a fraction of the train journeys, the rollback underscores the difficulty of tackling India's heavy subsidy bill. The move announced late on Tuesday follows an average across the board increase of 14.2 percent to fares announced by the railways ministry on Friday.

India's railway network is one of the world's largest, but years of low investment and populist policies to subsidize fares at affordable levels have crimped growth in new lines and hindered private investment.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Mumbai; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)