budget however didn’t make any reduction in passenger fares despite the fall in
diesel price and the provision, in the current rail budget, for a further
reduction of freight charges on diesel by 1%.
now can look forward to cleanliness, better facilities for the differently abled
and senior citizens and ease of interacting with railways in ticketing and
travel. The customer is certainly the centre of all activities,”
noted Amrit Pandurangi,
senior director and leader
infrastructure and capital projects
of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
India Pvt Ltd,
piece in the LiveMint.
minister Suresh Prabhu has brought a high
level of clarity in the focus areas through the concept of thrust areas, and
articulated clearly the fact that the railways
is now going to be a highly ‘customer-oriented’ organization,” Pandurangi added.
However, the “customer oriented” budget looks like a “troubling one” for the
common man or the ordinary consumers of the country at some pointes,
particularly when freight charges on essential items are concerned.
though the Railway Minister, in his budget speech, highlighted that the railways
would be an instrument of eliminating poverty, this spirit seemed to be missing
in the budget that proposed a hike of freight charges on food grains and pulses
by the highest slab of 10%, which would directly impact the food market and
escalate food, pulse and oil prices to burden the common man further.
budget also proposes hike in freight charges on urea, a base fertiliser used by
the farmers of the country, by 10 per cent. This would not only lead to higher
input cost in agriculture but also increase the cost of farm produces causing
food prices escalate further while adding to the subsidy burden.
"With the increase in freight, the subsidy paid for movement of urea will
increase by another Rs 300 crore from current level of Rs 3,000 crore," said
Satish Chander, Fertilizer Association of India (FAI) as quoted in a
PTI report published in the Times of
Increase in freight charges on groundnut oil by 2.1%, on LPG and Kerosene
by 0.8% would
also increase the burden on the ordinary Indian.
Even, at a time
when the Modi government is counting low cost housing as a priority sector, the
rail budget proposed a hike in freight charges on cement by 2.7%.
cost of production will go up in the range between Rs 2 and Rs 4 per bag of 50
kg cement," said Mohendra Singi, CEO of Dalmia Bharat Cement Group in the
aforementioned PTI report.
This would not
only make housing a costly affair but would also affect various government
housing schemes for the welfare of poor people.
nutshell, while making it “costumer friendly,” the Indian rail budget 2015-16
seems to have ignored the interests of the ordinary Indian, many of whom rarely
travel by train to experience the improved life during a train journey but buy
food to consume and need a house to live in.