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