Rail Budget 2016: Prabhu has been dauntless though needs to find pill for Lalu-Mamata hangover

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By K Yatish Rajawat

Two things Suresh Prabhu did not dwell on in his debate and these dual are a biggest hurdles for a Railways going forward. These were a income projections for 2016-17 and revenues achieved in a stream year 2015-16. After all, bill is about projections of revenues and output formed on a past year’s performance.

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Image pleasantness PIB

The reason he did not dwell on these dual things is since this has been a severe year for railways. The income aim set for ’15-16 was during Rs 1,80,000 crore, what will be achieved is tighten to Rs 1,68,000 crore with a some-more than a month and a quarter to still go. The reason for this dump in feat is a worry for not usually a Railways though a business model. Initial series for a initial half of ’15-16 showed a expansion of usually 2 percent in burden a reason attributed was dump in bulk commodity conveyance quite foodgrains. But commodity conveyance also includes iron ore and spark a decrease in that shows an altogether slack in a economy. The expansion in burden includes a arise in burden rates so in terms of a volume a expansion is even lesser.

Now, a second partial of a projection that Suresh Prabhu did not dwell on is a targeted revenues for 2016-17 pegged during Rs 1,84,000 crore a 10 percent increase over a prior year.

Prabhu is attack for a covers here and being unequivocally dauntless by environment such a high target. Hoping for a good monsoon and need for replenishment in a superfluous godowns to expostulate a burden for foodgrains.

Secondly, he is anticipating for a vital reconstruction in direct for spark and iron ore freight. Thirdly, he is anticipating that Railways will be means to change a business indication on burden and attract automobile, white products conveyance etc. Or maybe all three. This is being dauntless opposite all a odds.

Remember a aim for a handling ratio for 2015-16 was 88.5 percent and what has been achieved is closer to 90 percent. This is also due to some budgetary assets of Rs 8,720 crore. However, it is formidable to explain if a accounting play or genuine savings.

Getting his revenues and output right is a initial step towards ensuring sustainability of Railways and this was a thought Prabhu had set when he announced his final budget. This aim seems to have been mislaid in a stream debate of a railway minister.

Now that what he did not dwell on is clear, let us demeanour during what he did speak about. He spent an lavish volume of time for newcomer amenities that was clearly a direct from a citizens. This was a vital direct from adults and it shows in a consult here. Addressing a needs of a adults is a low capex and high impact initiative. Therefore he has announced a list of initiatives here and we won’t dwell on it here it has been prisoner good by a super active internet group during The Hindu newspaper.

Under Prabhu, railways has turn some-more customer-centric on a newcomer side, though some-more needs to be finished on a burden side. There is a lot that has to be finished on a burden side and we have created about it here and here. Now some of these ideas have been incorporated by Prabhu in his operative in a Railways. But a really elementary thought of creation burden as elementary as engagement a newcomer sheet will safeguard that a backend automatically turn some-more patron centric.

When an particular is authorised to book burden on a IRCTC site and his parcel can be collected and delivered doorway to doorway we know that Railways has incited around. This is logistics mess-up that should be a tip many priority for a sustainability of Railways.

Currently, burden is treated as a second adults in terms of patron service. The burden docks are dirty, a procession primer and paperwork intensive, a entrance and exit for lorries, and vehicles cumbersome. There is no final mile use or connectivity Railways offers or has. India Post, a usually classification has a infrastructure and connectivity though lacks in patron service. There is a play here to move these too classification together and form a corner charity for tiny sized packets and doorway to doorway delivery, branded and marketed aggressively. These are a large ideas that will assistance move a enlightenment of customer-centric proceed in a burden business in railways.

The final and a many critical aspect again as per his final bill is violation a cycle of miss of investment plaguing a Railways for a final 15 years. Successive railway ministers from Lalu Prasad Yadav to Mamta Bannerjee had one elementary regulation to spend a collateral bill in operational expenditure.

In elementary words, a income that was given to them for building a residence was used for shopping daily groceries. They fooled people, media and even Harvard in desiring that they were creation a Railways profitable.

Now, Prabhu pronounced in his debate that investment thought of Rs 1,00,011 crores has been met for 2015-16, and he has targeted another Rs 1,00,002 crore for 2016-17. These are desirous targets and there are no petrify sum on how to grasp them. Obviously, some of this collateral output will come from a categorical bill where he is seeking some-more than Rs 40,000 crore.

This is another area that needs some-more courtesy from a structuring indicate of perspective to attract low seductiveness loans from Japan, US and even grant funds. The time has come for railways to do a possess emperor like charity for general markets, directly and not by IRFC to lift funds. Hopefully, some-more will occur here so that a aim of investment can be met, if not it will sojourn a dauntless announcement.

Being dauntless in adversity is not easy, though being dauntless can be dope audacious if we are not formulation in adversity. This maybe a time for some tough decisions too and it is time that they are taken to make Railways a better, leaner opening engine.

K Yatish Rajawat, is a process commentator and strategist formed in Delhi, he tweets @yatishrajawat