The argument that the railway fare increase was one that was planned by the UPA does not cut ice. It is a thoughtless, hasty decision. By its very nature and the large spread of people it serves, the Railways can only be partly commercial; it is largely a running social sector project. The rightist economic thinking of the government ignores this reality altogether. A section of the travelling public needs to be subsidised and a way has to be found to serve this specific target. In recent years, the Railways may have broken even operationally, but there is no way that it can fund its huge capital needs only through its earnings. It has to be treated on a par with defence and its extra needs met completely from the General Budget. An allocation of Rs.50,000 crore per annum is a must. It will be educative and surprising to find out how China has been funding the rapid growth of its railways.
I wonder whether Mr. Modi’s tall promises of clamping down on inflation have anything to do with the railway fare hike. This will only fuel inflation which has already wreaked havoc on the common man. The government has effected a large hike on the one hand, but as usual shies away from initiating any steps to improve the quality of services in line with the revised tariffs. This lopsided approach doesn’t make Mr. Modi’s team any different from the preceding dispensation. It would be appreciable if the government comes out with directives enforcing all private sector employers to pay bi-annual DA to their employees which could offset inflationary pressures on the common man.
M. Phani Kiran,
We all need to understand that our economy has been paralysed for a long time owing to some bad decisions taken by the previous government. Therefore, where will this government get the money for much-needed development? The way the Opposition and the people are protesting and mocking the acche din slogan of Mr. Modi reveals their callous attitude towards policies which are in favour of development. The Modi government will have to take more stringent decisions to put the economy back on track.
Nitin Singh Chaudhary,
Keywords: Railway fare hike