Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sri. Suresh Prabhu has submitted his second Railway budget on 25.02.16.

The budget not announced any fare hike, but in Dec 2015 fare hake was affected by 33 %.

Presently 30-40 % of tickets are through Thatkal, and along with premium trains premium tickets are also to be sold for normal trains. This will bring down the availability of normal tickets to around 40 %, in this again Sr. Citizen and women quota. In future people has to opt for Thatkal or premium tickets only.

Budget is projecting Privitaisation, but what is the fact.

The plan approval was for mobilisation of Rs.1 lakh crore through Public Private Partnership route, Rs,20,000 crore a year. But in the initial 2 years the target itself was fixed as Rs.6,000 crore and 1000 crore. Nothing materialised. Now for the 3rd year, 2014-15 a target of Rs.6,000 crore has been fixed. This also is not going to be materialised. 

In the end the plan approved target will not be met. As a result most of the projects will have to be carried forward without any completion. 

Silent about Staff & Safety:

Budget is silent about the Staff & Safety. There are many Committees like High Level Safety Review Committee headed by Dr Anil Kakodkar which recommended filling up vacancies in safety category, but in budget nothing is mentioned. Even the Air Conditioning of Engine Cabins announced in previous budget has not been implemented.

Staff productivity: 

The employee productivity is measured in terms of 1000 traffic units per employee. In 1991 the employee productivity was 346 and same in 12-13 was 1467. It means near 5 times increase in productivity.

At the same time the percentage of expenditure on wages and allowances of Railway employees to revenue receipts and revenue expenditure of Railways has come down. In 2000-2001 the percentage of wages to Revenue receipts was 37.19%. It came down to 30.55% in 2012-13. In 2000-01 the percentage of wages to Revenue expenditure of Railways was 38.33%. It came down 34.24% in 2012-13.

The expenditure on wages and allowances to total Central Government employees also came down as percentage to Revenue Receipts and revenue expenditure of Central Government. In 1997-98 the percentage of wages on revenue receipts was 20.6% and the same came down to half to 10.23% in 2012-13. The percentage on revenue expenditure in the same period came down from 15.3% to 7.6% in 2012-13.

This is achieved, apart from other means, by non-filling up of vacancies and ban on creation of posts. In 2012-13 the vacancy was 2.52 lakh. Another 64,633 added because of retirement. But recruitment was made only to 28,467 vacancies. Any vacancy that exists for a year or more unfilled, that vacancy should not be revived as per Government policy. This is the same for any year since 1990-91. In that year there were 16.54 lakh employees on rolls. Now it is only 13.05 lakh, a substantial reduction of 3.5 lakh employees. This is despite an enormous increase in the services and assets. Same policy is adopted even in respect of safety category vacancies. Anil Kakodkar Committee on safety recommended that the 1.26 lakh vacancies in safety category should be filled within 6 months from February, 2012. But only 25,000 recruitments were made against safety category vacancies. 

Additional posts are not possible to be created as there is ban on creation of posts even to safety categories.

Loco Pilots (Train Engine Drivers’) links are tightened. Even duties in 6 continuous nights are rule of the day even though safety category working hour committee recommended only for 2 nights. Though Ministry of Labour has ordered 6 hour duty for running staff Government is appealing against it in the courts and extract work beyond 10 hours. As a result employees are over working even without weekly rest and legitimate leave.

The Private or the FDI are not interested to invest in Railways which is a long gestation activity. One has to wait for years to get profit. The private or FDI are for instant profit. Railways that too in a developing country like India cannot offer instant profit.


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