IIM-Ahmedabad's Professor G Raghuram joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the impact of Railway Budget on people & economy.
Q. What would be impact on Railway freight? Asked by: surya narayan singh
A. Marginal. The larger government policies and industrial growth have a bigger impact.
Q. Other countries have moved to safer and faster transportation by rail, but we have never found the need or the time to invest in these projects. Mostly we still go by the rail created by the British. Would we see a private-public partnership in the railways? Asked by: EMathew
A. There are already PPPs in Indian Railways. More are required.
Q. Railways infrastructure has remained the same during the last 10 years. By increasing the number of trains are we being short-sighted without developing additional infrastructure? Asked by: EMathew
A. Soft infrastructure (like signalling, debottlenecking critical sections etc) has been improving. More trains can be run. However, if it is at the cost of freight trains, there is an issue.
Q. Railway Budget 2013: What will be the impact on people & economy? Asked by: Anuj
A. Very general question. Right now, it does not seem there will be much impact.
Q. When can we see metros run in the whole country? Asked by: B.Anirudh
A. May be in about 10 years time, atleast in the top ten cities.
Q. Sir, Is the Railway Budget not high on vision & low on reality? Asked by: Priya
A. It is not high on vision. There is much waiting to be envisioned on safety, security, modernization, commercialisation, etc. It is low to moderate on reality. Sops in terms of trains, surveys etc. A pre-election do not rock the boat budget.
Q. Should railways be privatised for better operating efficiencies? Asked by: anna
A. PPPs is the way to go.
Q. Double decker rails are a solution to still infrastructure and ever increasing population of the country? Asked by: Akshay Singh
A. In congested areas like Mumbai, and fly overs at major railway junctions.
Q. How do you rate this years Rail budget? Asked by: leena
A. A do not rock the boat pre-election year budget.
Q. Is it a reformist and forward looking Budget? Asked by: DK
A. Nowhere near last year's Trivedi Budget. But a few points have been picked up. Not forward looking in a significant way.
Q. What about cleanliness in railways, have u ever noticed diff b/w south and north Indian railways, SCR is much better, why so gap, will that be filled? Asked by: Digvijay
A. Cultural? Technology can be a solution.
Q. Railway Modernistaion: Is it too little too late? Asked by: Harry
A. Better late than never.
Q. What should the railways do to come at par with China? Asked by: Isha
A. Invest with vision, with PPPs. Focus on R&D. The Budget has given five fellowships and a Chair, as a start. A long way to go. No talk of the IIT Kharagpur Research centre as well as some of the earlier research support to IIT Roorkee, etc.
Q. Not increasing the railways fare at this moment, Is it populism or realism? Asked by: Akshay Singh
Q. Why is railways getting into financial mess now after doing well during laloo years? Asked by: HS
A. Growth and new innovations are a must continually. Sixth pay commission took away a lot of the surpluses. But these need to be built in in the planning.
Q. When do you think the bullet trains can see the light of the day in India? Asked by: Abhishek Ghosh
A. Hopefully by the end of the decade atleast on part of the Ahmedabad Mumbai stretch.
Q. Do you think that railways got to be privatised so that it can change it's image and which has been demand of corporate sector? Asked by: Himanshu
A. Through PPPs, yes.
Q. Don't you think it is high time our government should stop giving populist budgets? Asked by: Sneha
A. Yes. But I do not understand political compulsions!
Q. Wouldn't it be better to stop the practice of presenting separate rail budget, so as to cut down on populism to a great extent? Asked by: Abhishek Ghosh
A. Yes. In fact, from being the ministry with the highest budget, today Ministries of Oil, Steel, Telecom and Finance (Institutions) have bigger budgets. May be a few others too.
Q. Railways are the biggest violators of the Manual Scavenging Act by employing large number of manual scavengers. What are targets set by the Pawan Bansal to equip all the rail coaches with bio-toilets all over the country to address the menace of manual scavenging? Asked by: Bhumish Khudkhudia
A. He has also recognised the issue. But how much aggressiveness will be shown remains to be seen The issue has been in focus right from about ten years ago. But not with aggressive targets.
Q. Can we expect availability of adequate berths any time, if yes tentatively when? Asked by: Manohar Battula
A. May be never, except in slack seasons, unless passenger fares are raised.