The Indian Railways has come a long way! From being content of being referred to by every Quiz Master , as the largest employer in the world, today it stands at the brink of occupying the slot as the No: 1 Railway company in the world.
The inimitable Lalu Prasad Yadav, Minister for Railways, has proven to be (of all things!) a fine businessman. He quips in his rather non-chalant style, hitting out at the NDA Government for not even being able to pay the Rs 2473 Crores dividend, while in his term the same company has made a whopping surplus of more that Rs 1,00,000 Crores. He proudly declares, "We are not dependent on the Finance Ministry or the Government for any money! We have our own resources."
A truly commendable job one must admit. Hats off to Lalu and whoever else is behind this successful parade. The increased realisation of revenues through increased movement of goods traffic, introduction of easier ticketing services, introduction of "Rail Neer" and many other similar innovative initiatives has really paid off!
But we still have a long way to go! I recall the agony, that I have had to go through every time a ticketless traveller bullies his way through to my seat. In my opinion , Lalu will have to address this one very important setback, that can be a big bottleneck,in the furthur growth of the railways- Ticketless travelling.
I have personally encountered hordes and hordes of ticketless travellers, making their way to their daily routine, (to office mainly) using the Indian Railways free-of-cost! The Mumbai Suburban Rail System, Surat- Mumbai Lines, Bhopal-Itarsi Lines are some of the places where ticketless travelling is a daily routine.
If at all the Railways needs to continually grow in this fashion, the capitalistic approach adopted sounds very useful. But then one needs to balance that off against the socialistic temptation to remain slack against ticketless travellers , just to enable the poor man who cannot afford a ticket!
For many a time, socialism favours the meek and the weak, and gives an incentive for everybody to become weaker to derive its benefits!