Report: Indian Railways Misused Safety Fund

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The Facts

  • According to an audit report on derailments in the Indian Railways, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government misused funds meant to improve railway safety, instead spending them on crockery, car rentals, furniture, laptops, foot massagers, toilets, and winter jackets.

  • In 2017, the central government established a five-year safety fund called the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) worth around INR 100K crore (about $12B). However, a report published by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) shows much of it was either under-utilized or diverted.


The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

The mismanagement and underutilization of RRSK funds defeated their primary objective of upholding rail safety. The CAG had warned about glaring holes in the railways’ risk control systems in December 2022, but the Modi government chose to ignore the red flags and focused instead on winning the state elections. Had the Centre heeded CAG’s findings and initiated measures for addressing and fixing the safety lacunae, the devastating tragedy at Balasore could have been averted.

Pro-establishment narrative

It’s unfair to use the CAG report selectively, or to present its findings out of context. The CAG’s audit of RRSK fund utilization is limited to three years, meaning it gives a partial picture of the expenditure the railways have undertaken on track renewal and safety-related works. The opposition must wait for a detailed reply on all issues raised in the report and the completion of investigations into Balasore tragedy before making frivolous charges to the Modi government for electoral gains.


Metaculus Prediction


Establishment split

CRITICAL

PRO

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