I am a financial dud, something I have long accepted. Try hard as I may to understand taxes, investments, long term plans, yaada yaada, it still remains Greek and Latin and Finance to me.
RD has given up trying to tell me every now and then,that I need to learn finances. He wants me to operate my own policies, know what we invest, where we invest, how we invest, IF we invest, etc etc…thats something I must accept shamefacedly that I have never tried to learn
Now a days, I try and fill in my own tax forms, though I send it to RD for corrections (Its something else that he finds it just easier to REWORK on the entire thing than give me corrections) but hey I am trying.
Anyways I digress.
The point of this post was the Railway budget.
I was trying to read about it yesterday on various websites. Tell me something, did everyone around know that the railways are running losses. I was shocked to read it honestly.
I mean, look around you people, seriously look around you. How can railways run losses? Tickets are booked like 4 months in advance and by 8.45 AM the trains are running full and you get like 45 waiting list or something.
and then I thought the local trains in Mumbai with their overflowing passengers itself would earn enough to drive the entire railways to high profit. I mean, honestly they run like 1 train in place of 10 (What I mean to say is for the crowd that one train takes, actually 10 trains are required!)
So pretty surprising that the railways are running into losses. Looking at it from a financial dud point of view (thats my point of view) it seems really weird.
For the amount of people who travel daily, I always thought the railways would be continuously earning money like no man’s business. You know like really minting money and putting it into the nation’s coffers.
Apparently thats not the case. The losses are huge.
Again, from a laywoman’s perspective, I think it has got more to do with inefficiency than anything else. We are the world’s second largest country in population, we have people moving from one state to another and we have people like the R family who contribute significantly to the railways by continuously booking and cancelling tickets at the rate of 10/month or something. How the hell are the railways in losses?
Few pointers for the railways from a laywoman staying in Mumbai
1. Get more efficient. Half your newly introduced systems like the coupon machines and ATM kind dont work. Whats the point of installing machines worth 1000s of rupees and them not working. Then you need people to give out the tickets na. Spend money on maintenance of the machines and not on paying more to ticket sellers, that ways you will save millions
2. Get a good catering contract for long distance trains. Better food variety often prompts bored passengers to buy food. Have you ever noticed how passengers are ready to buy that nice bhel from a non-railway vendor selling inside the train. Thats because it tastes better. You can get a good caterer and earn that revenue you know.
3. Clean up your toilets and you will get at least 100 people more in the trains which have low passenger ratios. Honestly if you give me clean toilets and clean bed sheets, I would not take the aeroplane and enjoy the train travel
4. Get efficient on timings. I hear we have miles and miles and miles of laid railway tracks. Why not use it efficiently. Try and reduce train travel time. I am sure with a little bit of thought we can adjust timings and reduce travel time. How about getting in some university to do research on it? then you allow the college kids to learn about efficiency AND get it done at 1/10th of the cost you would pay a big consulting firm
5. Similarly get colleges involved as a thesis or something to figure out ways to effectively use railways freight loads and stuff. Trust me nothing better than a fresh mind to look at a problem and come up with brilliant solutions. You give the nation’s youth a problem and they come up with splendid solutions
6. Try and get private companies to invest. May be they will get in the additional money which you dont require actually and also that fresh breath of air required
Does this make sense eh?