TODAY -

Self-funded Rail budget earns profits, Stress must on local trains

Shivaji Sarkar *



Railways is beyond speed. It connects India. It takes to the farthest, remot-est and inaccessible area and immensely contribute to the growth of hinterlands. Its contributions are not for getting lost amid glitz of the infra push, the roads, solar or space achievements. It is much more than speed, coaches and corridors. The Indian Railways remain the driver of the economy as COVID-19 exemplified.

The closure of the trains slowed down the economic growth. It tumbled to minus 24 percent. While Prime Minister's Gati Shakti is a good target to make corridor function-ing more efficient, all the same it needs to stress on the trains that connect every station of the country, once served by the trains like the Janata Express. Rail travel still remains affordable but the cost on the most de-prived is increasing.

Logically correct, but the Nation has to take care of the large number of the poor who have just come up the official poverty line, but who as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, told in Rajya Sabha, need more care and his free food dole for another five years is meant to tend them and handhold them to the next better phase of life. Railways is self-funded and having profits too though emphasising less on commuters.

Somewhere it gets into oblivion that locally connecting trains are not only needed in metro cities of Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru but also in all other States whether Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, or southern States of Andhra, Telangana, Odisha or the critical North East. Various metro projects have been allocated Rs 23931 crore and Rs 1300 crore for electric buses.

But it is observed that these do not cater to the poorer class, even in cities like Delhi. They shun metro for its high fare affecting their mobility. The Delhi-Meerut rapid transit metro runs parallel to Northern Railway suburban-cum-local tracks. It has a high cost and proposed fare as well. But it deprives the highest number of poorer travellers as they lack affordability.

The Chennai and Mumbai local trains are more efficiently run than the metros in these cities. Overall losses of metro in all sections are being overlooked. As per official figures, 50 percent of total railway passengers are suburban commuters from the three major cities Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. If other hubs all over the country are included, they would form the major chunk of approximately 80 lakh passengers.

They despite contributing substantially to the economy, remain the most neglected. In pursuit of speed, the most productive people are being ignored. Their contribution to rail profit is underestimated. Even the running trains generate jobs for thousands of vendors. The projects like RRTS need a review.

It has also been observed that Kolkata metro of Indian Railways remain the best and most profitable despite high cost of deep tunnelling under the Hooghly river. Unlike most other metros it remains profitable and high ridership as is also the case with the Kolkata suburban railway. It is often said that railways is not making enough money. That's incorrect.

It has earned Rs 2242 crore extra revenue denying concessions to them between March 2020 and March 2023. The financial year 2022-23 alone earned Rs 560 crore from the change in norms making it the most profitable year, according to Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). The railways have earned Rs 2800 crore in the last seven years from child travellers, who are made to pay full fare since April 21, 2016.

Earlier, children between 5 and 12 years were offered separate berths at half the travel fare. Fares of suburban travel have also been revised. The budget has earmarked a capex of Rs 2.55 lakh crore for the Indian railways, which is just marginally higher than the Rs 2.4 lakh crore announced in last year's budget. Railways need a bigger push. It should not be for suddenly changing 40,000 coaches to Vande Bharat type structure.

It is not needed. The officials have made the planners opt for an inappropriate step. The actual total receipt of Indian Railways was Rs 240,176.96 crore in 2022-23, which was estimated to rise to Rs 265,000 crore in 2023-24 (BE), but was found to be Rs 258,600 crore in 2023-24 (RE). As against this, total expenditure has been on the rise, which were Rs 237,659.58 crore in 2022-23 (actual), Rs 262,790 crore in 2023-24 (BE), and Rs 256,600 crore in 2023-24 (RE).

Now, the interim budget 2024-25 has estimated it to rise to Rs 279,700 crore. The Finance Minister's announced budgetary support of Rs 2.55 lakh crore is an illusion. It only rechristens the railways own accounts in Finance Ministry terms. In other words, it could be said that railways are not being given any extra finance. Even its capex is generated by the railways itself.

It has one of the highest operating ratio up from 90 percent in 2013 to 98 percent in 2025. This means that railways have to spend Rs 98 per every Rs 100 it earns. It reflects in the share market too on the high demand of railway-related company scrip. In pursuit of speed, it should neither slow down regular trains, nor cancel local passenger trains or neglect the suburban sector.

It is not wise to leave it to be catered by metro or RRTS trains at huge costs. Each metro station construction, security and avoidable paraphernalia costs much more than the railways would have done. Lack of integrated rail-led passenger transport vision has added to tremendous cost of less utilised metros as in Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur, Bengaluru and other such cities.

Metros should be replaced with elevated trams. Any average 150-year-old rail stations serve far better. Rail stations need simple, beautiful and easy access not a designer one. Most demolitions of old efficient structures of stations must be stopped. Along with that elevated trams with simple access to platforms should be planned for efficient, inexpensive, comfortable city commuting.

It calls for reorientation and a falsified approach that Indian Railways need very high speed. They have evolved with the best and with minimum efforts and expenditure should be made better. The rural, semi-urban and urban travellers need the attention and the railways must orient it towards them.


* Shivaji Sarkar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 16 2024.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #14 :: Book
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Ensuring Fair Voting in Hills of Manipur
  • Dr Irengbam Mohendra's latest book :: Rvw
  • NDA has the advantage in both
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • L Rup's Robot 'Kangleinganbi' in Manipuri
  • Art- means of connecting hearts in Manipur
  • Is it Living Alive or Living Death ? :: Poem
  • Rabies - A preventable zoonotic disease
  • April 19, 2024: The blackest day of all
  • Ugly turns on voting day
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • The chasm between TB & HIV continues
  • Parliament and its Members
  • Kimchi for health and glowing skin
  • LS election with a difference
  • To vote, or not to vote ?
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamjao, Kakching
  • The Power of Poppy - 27 :: Poem
  • Mother Language based education essential
  • Modi's warriors wear regional hats
  • Nest Asia promoting Northeastern Cuisine
  • Now look beyond LS poll
  • The rot in the system
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • 10 candidates cracked Civil Services Exam
  • Milk of Paradise: History of Opium : Rvw
  • How plastics find their way into our bodies
  • Condemning attack on Trucks along NH-37
  • Cong looking to buck the trend
  • Saving Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #2
  • Election Duty :: Travellog
  • 1st Nagas' Meet in Punjab
  • How to select right MP to represent Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Tejpur
  • Bats are Keystone species for the Planet
  • The '15 days' conundrum
  • Free but not so fair
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #30: Download
  • Before You Vote : My Rumbling Thoughts
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakching
  • Meiraba wins All India Sr tournament
  • Finding light in dark through my daughter
  • Navigating life's unreasonable expectations
  • Test of people's character
  • BJP's election manifesto
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Black rice & Glycemic Index
  • What Nadda should speak at Dimapur rally
  • Open Letter to CM Office Manipur
  • Meghalaya unveils Strawberry festival
  • Benefits of maths newspapers for students
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Are you a good person ?
  • Physics Academy of NE : Executive Body
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Moirang
  • Cherrapunji Eastern Craft Gin launched
  • Cong on cautious path
  • Botox for Hair
  • Posers voters should raise now
  • The lull before the storm
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD