Rail Budget for 2013-14

MADHU AGRAWAL

It has been a usual practice to criticise Railway Budgets mainly for allegations on Railway Ministers to favour their constituencies and states on political consideration. It is true to great extent but is a case with all the Railway Ministers irrespective of party or alliance to which they belong, except two exceptions of Lal Bhahadur Shastri and Madhu Dandvate. It is also a practice to increase fares prior to the budget to avoid criticism of budget which was also done this year when passenger-fares were increased only last month though justified. However budget should be appreciated for giving extra care towards religious destinations which was necessary also in a country where people by and large are highly religious, and also as a check to prevent stampede like happened recently at Allahabad on the main bath-day of Kumbh. Introduction of a train to cover destinations related to freedom-movement with concessional fares is also welcome.

However cost for railways could be saved by discontinuing serving food in trains by retaining fare same in trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani. Instead packaged food by renowned companies can be sold by giving sale-incentive to train-staff. Most airline-companies have discontinued practice of charging cost of food with tickets on domestic flights. System will avoid waste of money for those who do not prefer outside food or have peculiar choice like ‘Jain’ food without onion and garlic. Washing of utensils like spoons is totally unhygienic in these trains. Suggested system will check shameful practice of railway-employees begging for ‘tips’ after serving lunch or dinner. It is a national shame when foreigners travelling in these prestigious trains note the aspect in their diary for highlighting in their countries.

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