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Mar 14, 2012

Rail Budget or De-Rail Budget 2012..

Dinesh Trivedi in his first railway Budget promises to reform railways with an expectation of Rs 2.5 lakh crore as budgetary support from government in 12th five-year plan.

Wow Rs 2.5 lakh crore from the government for the 4TH largest rail network in the world and probably the busiest too ! Why cant railways sustain itself with so many resources and with a 24 hour money minting machinery ?

This question has been asked for ages, since the time, first rail budget after independence was presented by John Mathai in Nov 1947. The answer to this question lies with us and first we should be questioned.! Ironically we are the ones asking the question ?

We as the nation should be held responsible for this mess in railways. Indian Railways probably serves the largest bank of manpower of 7.2 billion people and it is this manpower that can bring in the change !
7.2 billion people can make railways more accountable about their resources and push them for more regular assessment of their plans. I will use the word RRAA i.e. Railway Resource Accountability Assessment for it and we can ensure it , but first we need to ask ourselves some questions…

Q 1. Indian Railways did not increase the passenger fares for last ten years and none of us questioned how will it sustain revenue growth ? We ask for more facilities in train but refused to pay for it.

Q 2. Every day 23 million passengers register with Indian railways, but not even 10 % from it ever questions the jugaard approach for reservation confirmation ?

Q 3. Like every other year 75 new passenger trains are announced this year, but we never question why increase in passenger trains is not complimented with the increase in railways manpower or infrastructure ?

Q 4. Indian Railways has a huge bank of 1.13 lakh acres of land, none of us ever questioned why it has been not used for development of rail infrastructure & industries, hotels & restaurants, shopping malls & recreation facilities ?

Q 5. The 7000 railway stations are in a state of mess but we never question our own contribution in their maintenance ?

Q 6. Indian Railways is blamed for poor safety standards, nearly 15000 trespassers die every year. But nobody questions the intent of trespassers ?

Q 7. More than 2500 passengers and railway staff has died in last 36 months due to train accidents, the main reason being derailment. But no questions are raised on over-reliance of visual signals and complete installation of automatic signal.

Rail budget is one more opportunity to remind ourselves that we as a country need to build a national character and own up our collective responsibility for the nation. Only then can come with a real reform, a tide of change that will sweep away the lackadaisical approach of ignoring or suppressing development because individuals look for only self development rather selfless development of the nation.
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