Pakistan Railways paying pension to unverified employees

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), a state-owned think tank associated with the Planning Commission, has discovered that 115,000 unverified retired Pakistan Railways personnel are receiving Rs35 billion in yearly pension.

PIDE stated in a statement published on Sunday. Their investigation found that railway losses totaled Rs144 billion between 2015 and 2020. The PIDE research suggested substantial institutional reforms at Pakistan Railways. It is now one of the country’s top 10 loss-making state-owned companies.

 The losses included an Rs44 billion shortfall in 2020. As well as an Rs36 billion pension burden on Railways for 120,000 workers. The government paid an Rs45 billion subsidy to overcome the shortfall and pension liabilities that year, according to the study.

Rectification of the Issue

“The stiff competition from road transport and the inability of PR to adopt a customer-centric business plan because of complex bureaucratic structure has led to an inefficient, underfinanced, and overstaffed public agency running in losses for the last three and a half decades. Additionally, there are 115,000 unverified retirees of PR, who are paid Rs35bn annually,” the report said.

A biometric verification system for pensioners has been proposed to verify these persons. The government has taken over the pension shortfall for Pakistan Railways. A pay and dividend commission has been established, which will have to consider not only railroads but also other public sectors. Furthermore, the Pakistan Railways has 178,000 acres, 145,000 of which are used for operating reasons and the other 33,000 are the Pakistan Railways’ “right of way.”

According to the research, half of all tickets are now electronic. But Pakistan Railways still lacks an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that connects all procedures. “Even the flow of financial information within the firm reveals a 60-day delay,” the study stated. It also suggested that customer relationship management (CRM) technologies, such as tracking arrangements, call centers, SMS alerts, and so on, be developed for the customer relationship.

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