Privatisation Must Cover The Whole Rail Sector, Not Just The Railways

Privatisation Must Cover The Whole Rail Sector, Not Just The Railways

Every indicator, not just safety-related ones, underlines the travails of Indian Railways (IR). An instant solution is also offered. Every monopoly is inefficient, especially a public sector one. Liberalise, privatise, corporatise. Isn’t that how railways were developed in India, through private sector initiatives in the 19th century? Let’s leave aside history, where, the private sector didn’t exactly smell of roses. What do we mean by privatisation and what do we mean by IR? There is an IR that owns infrastructure (tracks, signalling, rolling stock, stations) and there is an IR that runs trains. There is also an IR that runs schools and hospitals, but since this is a non-core function, let’s just assume, eventually, IR sheds that. By privatisation, we may either mean private entry, or selling IR’s equity.

Most services on trains and stations (cleaning, catering and maintenance) are already privatised. There is little IR does departmentally. Wagons are produced by the private sector. So, increasingly, are coaches and locomotives. What most people mean by private entry is the private sector running trains. On this, will we contemplate locomotive drivers from the private sector and safety (not to be confused with security) handled by the private sector? That’s worth thinking about.  Read More…

Credit By  : The Hindustan Times

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