Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Indian Railways: ICU to General Ward

~ Safety  -  Consolidation  -  Passenger Amenities  -  Fiscal Discipline ~

Hi Everyone,

With Railway Budget in the news I thought it would be best to put something on it. This article is curtsy to my friend Rishav (pen name Jack of all Trades). All the views presented here are based on solid facts that can be verified. Thanks for such a nice article.

The largest public service in the company was recently declared out of danger and was sent to general ward. It had been known to be under serious condition for past 3-4 years. Doctors from all over the country have tried hard to recover it back to normal, but have disappointed for quite a while.

This dates back to times when the Ministry of Railways went to a regional party head from the hands of another from the land of Bihar. Things have changed and were not the same as before. Being the vast platform to showcase one’s activity it was rigorously dragged into huge debts leading to thousand crores of losses. It was overshadowed by the aid provided by central and was neglected till the very end. The treasure went down to lacs from an amount of some 13 thousand crores.  Figures culled out from the Railway Convention Committee report by DNA show that between 2008 and 2010, Railways lost a whopping Rs 552 crore on an average every month. Look a little harder and it translates into a loss of nearly Rs 18 crore per day!

To meet mere political needs, railways were let into red figures marking the most rigorous decline of its reserve since Independence. The worst was yet to come. Having gained the political mileage, the new Minister of railways was forced to resign for increasing the railway fare which would have helped railway to stop knocking central doors for funds. The fare hike was postponed and India had yet again seen politics crushing the serious issue which Railways was facing.

As the health deteriorated and debts went deeper into red, the situation was ignored by the state and central. It was now time for the Tricolour hand to present the railway budget, for the first time in past 17 years. Presenting the annual budget of his ministry, Railway minister said the loss, which was Rs.4,955 crore in 2001-02, surged to Rs.22,500 crore in 2011-12 and is estimated to rise to Rs.24,600 crore in the current financial year. The government had wisely stepped up the fare before the budget and had sweetly bypassed the fact in the budget with just increasing a 5% of the freight. So the budget mainly went defensive in assuring building of assets and keeping it low for the first time in this decade. The main slogan for 2013-2014 being Safety and security, ‘Annubhuti’ was the trade mark of the tricolor minister, focusing at luxury on wheels. Attention towards e booking was appreciated, as the minister had promises to build hopes on. Providing Wi-Fi at several trains, upgrading stations, building infrastructure was no exception to what Ministers had previously vouched.

As the budget was presented, agreements and disagreements were into the air, already. On the mellow side, things looked well phrased and in tune. Building the reserve for the largest public service was the mission, along with making the budget for the people. The Ministry have tried hard to keep the Delhi ship from sinking as it continues to walk towards the end of another reign.

As long as promises are kept, developments not just are shown in papers but can be really witnessed, we have nothing to complain.

Rishav thanks once again for such a nice article.

Genie signing off

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Garbage - We? or What we throw?

Hello Everyone,

This is first post and I will keep it around a very simple topic of people throwing garbage on streets and public places without any thoughts to the cleanliness of the surroundings and hygiene. Although this topic may seem very trivial to most of the people and many might scoff at it but the reality is, it is a very serious issue and for those who are thinking it very trivial, don't worry i will be taking on more serious issues and also pointing out how serious this issue is.

In Mumbai Marine Drive (a sea face road) is a very beautiful place, a nice spot for the family, friends and couples to spend some time together under the soothing noises of sea waves. But if anybody will take a look at the water a clear distinction is visible in the colour of the water as we go farther into the sea. The portion of the water which is nearest to the road is quite black, actually and muddy, littered with garbage. Now water being dirty is not the issue here but the main issue here is garbage with which the water is littered with.

I see many people going there and throwing their water bottles, edible waste and what not into the water. In fact I have seen people doing competition who can throw the garbage farthest into the sea. The people cannot be completely blamed for this because the city administration is also shares the blame for this. I once decided to take a count of the number of garbage bins placed on Marine Drive and you would be surprised to know that there are very few. Any two garbage bins are separated by a long distance and people actually feel lazy enough not to get up and throw the waste in a garbage bin. Why to waste energy when nature has provided such a good garbage bin in the form of sea. Considering the length of the Marine Drive there should be more garbage bins.

I picked this specific example to show case the contribution of the public as well as the administration in creating a problem and then not bothering to do anything about it.

Also there are general problems created by littering and garbage like diseases, bad smell, the beauty of the place is tarnished because of the littering.

There is a departmental store near the Churchgate station, which is nearby the Marine Drive. Once when I was purchasing some items there, I saw some foreign lady (most probably a tourist) enter in the store and looking for something. After few moments when she was not able to find what she was looking for she approached an employee and (to my shock) asked where she could find a trash bin because she was not able to spot any on the road. She wanted to throw the used ice cream cup she was holding in her hand.

I was a bit surprised and also ashamed to think that we being the citizens on this country don't pay any heed to keeping the streets clean and a lady of foreign origin was being considerate enough to actually ask for a dustbin.

I actually made a resolution since that day to stop being part of the problem and do something, even if that something is infinitely small in comparison to the whole picture. And now I always throw waste in a dustbin even if I have to carry that with me for miles before I spot a dustbin. Like I said we will have to start at the individual level to solve the bigger problems facing the world. Because if we do not start taking steps then we are no better than the garbage we throw out on the streets, we are equally rotten.

I will conclude this post with a dialogue from Die Hard movie which  has always been embedded in my soul since the time I heard it-

" If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem... So quit being part of the problem"

I am proud to say that I am part of the solution.

What are you - part of the PROBLEM or SOLUTION

Genie Signing off.

Introduction - Prologue to the blog

Hi Everyone,

This is an introduction to this blog and I would like to say a few words before I put my first post. This blog is for everyone. anyone can comment on the posts I make on this blog and all suggestions and criticism are welcome. Through this blog I mean no disrespect to any individual, religion, cast, sect, nation etc. It's just a place to put my opinion about how things are in this world and what could be done to improve them, what is wrong and what can we as an individual do to right it. Most of the times the posts will be supported by facts (general if not in actual numbers, but none the less verifiable). I would keep my identity as well as the identity of the data sources anonymous.

The main issue addressed by this blog is us - individuals, whether we are helping in solving the problems in any way or not because

If not part of the SOLUTION u r part of the PROBLEM.

I welcome everybody to follow this blog.

Thanks everyone in advance.