Gravy train chugs into Sonia’s constituency–
The much awaited Railway Budget has arrived from Rai Bareli and here are the salient features.
» Ghani Khan Chowdhury used to consider Malda as the centre of India and now it is Rae Bareli. This type of planning is harmful in the long run.
» Operating ratio has fallen to 88.8% from 94.9 per cent in 2011-12 which is of concern.
» Pension payments have been increased to Rs 20,000 crore. Dependency ratio – the ratio of retired persons alive to employees – is we surmise around 7. This implies that salary, wages and pensions will take away a good portion of the revenues.
» E-ticketing through mobile phones and SMS alerts are interesting initiatives but making the current IRCTC website user-friendly and always up would have been more beneficial.
» A simple thing like audio announcements regarding next station is not done in the trains. Passengers getting down at midnight and early mornings are put to major inconvenience due to this.
» Indian Railways is planning to borrow more than Rs 15,000 crore from the market and it may not be an easy proposition – they could have planned for putting their largest land holdings to proper uses.
» New factories announced are in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha – seems to be related to Assembly elections.
» Already on many routes in south and west road transport is giving good competition to Railways in freight systems. To that extent one needs to watch the impact of freight increase on the revenues of Railways.
» Whether it is households or corporate the quality of toilets is critical in assessing the nature of the households/organisations. From that point of view Pawan Kumar Bansal seems to have not cared much about his organization — he should know trains stink!
» After nearly 18 years a Congress Minister for Railways is announcing the Railways Budget and one can only say that this is the gravy train reaching nowhere…