In a rather unusual move, Railway Minister P.K. Bansal on Wednesday announced an across-the-board hike in passenger fares less than two months before presenting the Railway budget. The hike comes into effect from January 21. As a consolation, however, Mr. Bansal said there would be no further fare hike in the budget.

The increase ranges from two paise a km in the basic fare for second class ordinary (suburban) passengers to 10 paise a km for AC chair car and AC first class.