FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Indian Railways needs to focus more on safety, Prabhu’s resignation will not help
Updated:Aug 24, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
India’s state-owned transporter is witnessing an unprecedented change. Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has put in his papers; the railway board is in the process of being restructured following the decision to replace the chairman of the board. So, is one to assume that the government is now determined to confront and address the challenges of providing for safe rail travel?
 
Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was independent India’s first railways minister to quit following a train accident. Others including Madhavrao Scindia, Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee had also offered to resign after similar tragedies. But their resignations were not accepted by the prime ministers of the period.
 
Upon his/her elevation, each railways minister has declared the subject of passenger safety to be the top priority. But the record of the Indian Railways — particularly in respect of the numbers of passenger deaths — has progressively worsened over the years. Long-pending technology upgrade plans such as the installation of Train Collision Avoidance Systems or the Anti-Collision Devices have not moved forward. Rolling stock (locomotives, coaches or wagons) are antiquated; signalling systems are obsolete; track renewal targets have been lagging behind — and the transporter is also hobbled by the issue of underinvestment.
 
Railway expenditure as a percentage of transport sector expenditure was placed at 56% in the Seventh Plan (1985-1990), but reduced to 30% in the Eleventh Plan (2007-2012). In the last two decades, the share of the Indian Railways in overall GDP had been static at 1%, further reducing to 0.9% in 2012-2013. In case Mr Prabhu’s resignation is accepted, how will the new railways minister tackle these multiple issues that have a direct bearing on passenger safety?
 
The question has no easy answers, but one fact remains: The NDA government’s quest to provide for a modern and efficient transportation system matching global standards is commendable; but age-old practices and methods that have served the aim of passenger safety in the past cannot be entirely rejected. The railways need to go back to basics and get it right.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
Afghanistan's leaders have asked the Security Council to mobilise international pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, United States Permanent Representative said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters here after the Council's weekend visit to Afghanistan and meetings with the nation's leaders, Haley said, &l
 
read-more
As the Myanmar government’s violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country’s sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599