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Railways to privatize

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Attempting an image makeover after opposing most major projects in her home state of West Bengal, railway minister Mamata Banerjee seemed to be going over the top in a bid to privatize every sector of the Indian Railways. At a meeting with industry representatives on Saturday, Mamata’s eagerness, whether in extending railway tracks by 49,000 km to railway safety, infrastructure development to technology, came as a surprise, since she has so far been talking of the PPP model as the best mode of turning the railways into the government’s biggest revenue-generating unit. In fact, FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra, who heads the experts committee for the railways and moderated the interactive session with the industry representatives, saw the railways saying that without private funding it would not be able to meet its target of extending the track-laying network.

For the full report in the TOI, click here

I would have thought PPP and outsourcing would have been better here. Whatever, the total monopoly has definitely to go.

Muralidhar Rao


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govt's role review needed

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“Negligence by railway staff caused nearly half of all train accidents in the country during the last five years, official data has revealed. Of the 1,034 train accidents that have happened during the period 2003-2008, 488 of them, which accounts for 47.2 per cent, have been attributed to negligence by the railway staff, joint director of the safety directorate of the ministry of railways J S Bindra said in reply to an RTI application.”

NGOs and the media suffer from a terrible double standard. They will pounce on negligence by a multinational, and rightly so. But they act as though the public sector has a licence to kill. That is disgraceful.

For the full article by Swaminathan Aiyer in the TOI, click on It all comes down to what I have been saying repeatedly - "The state has a bigger role as the facilitator and regulator, and when it becomes a player in addition, this bigger role gets compromised. Besides, the state can rarely be an efficient player. And, if it's a monopoly situation, it becomes the epicentre of all kinds of racketeering and inefficiencies".

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