Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Congress lies again, this time links old demand of Railways for help in paying pensions to contribution made by employees to PM CARES fund

Railways has been demanding that the union government should pay its pension bill, as it is too high, which contributes as much as 25% of the total earnings of the organisation

The Congress party’s malicious campaign against the PM CARES fund, set up by the Modi government to receive public donations for the fight against Coronavirus pandemic, continues based on lies. In a similar attempt at attacking the BJP led union govt, the Congress party has alleged that Indian Railways does not have money to pay the pension to ex-employees because it had donated to the PM CARES fund, which is completely untrue.

The official Twitter handle of the Congress party posted a video last night, where it alleged that while the Railways does not have fund to pay salaries and pension to its current enough employees, the same Railways had donated ₹151 crore to the PM CARES fund.

The Sonia Gandhi led party also linked it with the recent decision to run privately operated passenger trains on the Railway network. They alleged that it is part of a grand plan to first destroy a public organisation, and then sale it to private organisations.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who never leaves an opportunity to spread fake news against the govt, also tweeted the same allegations.

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Rahul Gandhi says the Modi govt is bleeding the Railways so that it can be sold to ‘crony capitalists for a pittance’.

Railways did not donate to PM CARES

As most allegations by the Congress leaders, this one is also completely false. The Indian Railways didn’t make any donation to the PM CARES from its funds. On March 29, media reports had informed that Railways was going to donate an amount of ₹151 crore to the PM CARES fund. But the fact is, this amount was contributed by the employees of Railways, it didn’t come from the fund of the organisation.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had announced that the employees of Indian Railway had decided to donate one day’s salary to the fund, which amounted to ₹151 crore. The Railway Minister had also tweeted letters sent by employee unions to the Railway Board offering their salary of one day to fight Coronavirus, and therefore the amount was not paid by the Railways.

The allegation that Railways don’t have money to pension was reported by Animesh Singh on Asian Age and Deccan Herald. And while the Asian Age said that Railways has sought union govt’s help in meeting its pension obligations, the Congress video says that Railways does not have money for both salaries and pension. We have reached out to the Railways to verify the authenticity of the report, and will update after we get a response.

It may be noted that the Railways has almost 16 lakh pensioners, and its pension bill is above ₹50,000 crore per year. Therefore, even if the amount of ₹151crore was paid from Railway funds, it would not have made much of a difference to its finances. The allegation that paying ₹151crore will bleed the Railways is laughable, which was actually not paid by Railways.

Old demand of Railways for relief from pension burden

Another important point to be noted is that Railways has been demanding that the union government should pay its pension bill, as it is too high, which contributes as much as 25% of the total earnings of the organisation. In January this year, before the PM CARES fund was established and before the Coronavirus pandemic had hit the country, the Railways had approached the Finance Ministry requesting that it be relieved of its pension burden.

And this was not even the first time the Railways had made such a request, they have made the same request earlier also. In December 2019 also it was reported that Railways had requested that the pension should be paid by the Union government. The Asian Age report published on 25th July, which is the base of allegations made by the Congress party, just reiterates what the Indian Railways had said before about the pension burden.

Therefore, this is not the first time that Railways has asked the union govt to take the burden of paying pensions, and it has no link with any contribution to PM CARES fund. The pension bill of Railways is too high to be met with regular income, and the Railways has been asking the Finance Ministry to take over the burden for a long time, it is not a recent development like te Congress party and Rahul Gandhi wanted to establish. Due to the lockdown, regular passenger services are shut, so it is expected that finances of the Railways will be hurt, but that does not mean Modi govt has some grand strategy to sale it, like the way UPA govt had destroyed Air India and Indian Airlines.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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