India’s largest charity
It is well known that Indian Railways has the world’s largest rail network as well as the world’s largest number of employees. It is also one of the world’s largest charities.
This year’s rail budget has no fare hikes for passengers or freight, but has deep concessions for ever more classes of passengers. The Railways continue to be seen as a tool to achieve social goals, at the expense of economic ones. Many countries were able to achieve quick industrialisation and progress with the introduction of railways; India has been a conspicuous exception. Concessions continue to be offered without any consideration for the means of the passenger to actually pay for the tickets – which are priced considerably below cost in any case. The railways are in desperate need of modernisation: improving safety, reliability and comfort. Most importantly, rail-freight must not be allowed to subsidise paying and non-paying passengers.
Yet, Laloo Prasad Yadav’s rail budget may actually be hailed by many simply because they expected far worse from him.
Logic – a casualty
Full concession in second class to unemployed youth attending interviews for selection to central government jobs to be implemented [Rediff]
The relevant central government department could easily reimburse the rail-fare of the interviewee. Laloo has just allowed millions of young men to have a free ride. Literally.