RAILROAD BLUES AND (HIGH) FARE RULES!

IMG-20140625-WA0009 ย  This one touches a raw nerve with the ย ‘aam aadmi’ (not referring to a certain Mr Kejriwal๐Ÿ˜œ).The strip was featured right after the pre railway budget hike in rail fares.

The newly installed Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDkA) government effected a steep hike of 14.2% in passenger fares and 6.5% in freight charges.This was the single largest one time hike in rail fares brought in by any government.

Since ย the hike came in within a month of the change of guard at Raisina Hill the opposition as well as some coalition partners in the NDA derided the Narendra Modi led dispensation for the decision.The mainstay slogan of the BJP-ACHCHE DIN AYENGE- was squarely slammed and the BJP was taunted for the nature of Achche Din it had ‘imposed’ on the people who had voted for the Party.

However, symptomatic of the politics of the day there is more to the issue than meets the eye.

Firstly ย the staid facts, the Government justified the hike due to the Rs 26000 crore loss being borne by the Indian Railways including a Rs 30 crore daily loss on ย account of passenger subsidy. Secondly, (still on the staid facts ๐Ÿ˜Ž) the experts on economic issues also came out in favour of the hike as it will haul in Rs 8000 crore annually and should be sufficient to fund ย the modernisation and infrastructure requirements of the Indian Railways. Thirdly and now comes the juicy bit and most interestingly the hike actually turned out to be a fait accompli for the Government as it had already been approved by the previous Indian National Congress (INC) led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government in the interim budget on 16th of February 2014 and it’s implementation had been delayed on account of electoral considerations of the UPA !!!

Thus the NDA picked up the tab for the hike with a smug INC (now in opposition) shouting the loudest in criticism of the Modi Government !

The hike came as a shocker as once each during the tenures of the UPA I & I I the fares had been downwardly revised. Also, as public memory remains short, a 5-10% hike was brought in by UPA I I in January 2013 but now remains banished from the public conciousness. Whatever be the economic merits of the issue it will be revealed in the days, months and years to come.The Prime Minister though had already forewarned the people of the country to be prepared to swallow a bitter pill (s?) in order to rejuvenate the stagnating and flagging national economy.

The strip however also portrays an issue close to the suburban railway commuters of Mumbai.

It shows the Amul Girl purchasing a ticket from the ticket counter with a white elephant in the Ticket Collector’s (TC) coat holding up a board showing the 14% hike in passenger fares (is it actually 14% for Mumbaikars – read on ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜Ž). The white elephant is in all probability the image equivalent of the Indian Railways!The Amul Girl is also shown carrying a toast generously smeared with butter ๐Ÿ˜‹( i guess for the feel good factor).

The Tag Line…PASS FAIL HUA is a clever play for a catchy line and signifies the fact that all those who had secured Season Passes were now to pay more thus rendering their supposed plan of saving expenses due to the ‘Pass’ being deemed a ‘fail’-ure.

The Punch Line…TICKET TO TASTE…is referring to the Amul butter being a sure bet and an assured ticket for adding taste to all dishes it forms part of.The USP of the line is the Indian Railways based sign posting with a blue banner on a red circle.

Just a little add on to the facts.

The Mumbai commuters in some cases will have to pay double the price for their Season Passes and not just an additional 14%๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ! Also, as the hike is effective from 25th of June 2014 , all who had procured tickets for a journey beyond the 25th will still have to pay the difference in cost ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜!! The only bright part in the script is probably the smiling faces of all involved including the elephant ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Btw a certain Mr Kejriwal ( not the same who has been referred to earlier in the piece) is having ย a field day berating the Government, but can’t say the same for the hapless FM listeners of Delhi who have to endure him protesting the hike in his dulcet voice thrice between two songs :mrgreen:๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

As of today the Railway Budget has been tabled in the Parliament and true to the election pitch of ushering in development, the focus has been on consolidating existing projects, modernisation of the railways, developing high tech freight corridors, developing railway stations on the lines of modern airports., safety and signalling systems and emphasis on women’s safety and better amenities for commuters.

To speed up the arrival of the Achche Din the Government has also planned to run bullet trains.Since Gujarat has given us the Prime Minister the first bullet train is planned on the Ahmed a bad – Mumbai route!!!.

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14 thoughts on “RAILROAD BLUES AND (HIGH) FARE RULES!”

  1. Such harsh measures would continue for 2 or 3 years before the govt again sees the elections over the horizon and becomes endearing.
    That apart well analysed and worded.

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  2. Great piece I would also like to point that I INC never opposed the hike officially. INC spokesperson mr Maken only said that they were against the manner in which the hike was imposed just ahead of rail budjet thus bypassing the parliament. Not that it would have mattered as mr Gowda had both the numbers in his hands (281 in parliament and 14% conveniently blamed over the previous dispensation)

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  3. Acche din aayange…..mere karan arjun aayange….the new PM has his hands full to get the nation back on track….there are many more hikes in pipeline….but surely as an optimist aache din zaroor aayange……..need to wait for the new man on the hot seat to deliver

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    1. Agree with you sir.the new dispensation needs time and I am sure they will deliver as the way the economy is it better start moving upwards otherwise we will have to revert to the good ol’ bullock carts.and then of for no body else…for the bulls..achche din aayenge. ..as they will be the prima donnas of the roads once again! Hope Audi and VW & Co are listening😎

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