Modernise rail coaches
Apropos the editorial ‘Staying the course’ (February 6), the gross budgetary support of ₹2.25-lakh crore towards capital expenditure for the Railways is nine times the sum allocated a decade back. A major chunk of this goes towards laying new lines, track renewals and rolling stock. On Kavach implementation, the Railway Minister has said that the preventive approach to accidents could be to transform the existing old coaches. With poor shock absorbers and springs, these coaches give the passengers a shaky, uncomfortable journey.
Also, the condition of the coaches of special trains is pathetic — cushion-less berths, rusty windows, stinky toilets and dim lights. The rollout of Kavach is far from satisfactory. Against the total network of 70,000 km, Kavach has been deployed only in 1,465 km which is a mere 2 per cent of the entire network. Against the budgetary allocation of ₹800 crore in FY24, funds utilised was only 40 per cent, which again reflects a lackadaisical approach. The Railways needs to prioritise busy routes for Kavach implementation.
Governance in Railways
The Railways has a central role to play in India’s ambitious journey to economic prosperity. Rightly, the focus has been on track upgradation, electrification, and modernising the rolling stock. However, there seems to be gaps in governance. The recent video of ticketless travellers in AC coaches is one instance; and another is of on-train catering personnel selling non-standard goods. Safety (Kavach) has as much to do with railwaymen’s attitudes towards their work as technology and investments.
Stock market advisors
The stock market boom has spawned a number of so-called experts who will tell you how to make money on stocks for a considerable fee. Why don’t they act on their own advice and make for themselves pots of money instead of charging the investors for advice on how to play the market. These sharks often swim in the choppy waters of the stock market waiting to gobble up credulous individuals. They often use thumbnails of people like Warren Buffet or the late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala to impress and lure prospective clients. Th people would be well advised to stay away from such crooks because the law seems powerless to stop this kind of cheating.
Extension of health insurance to treatments under Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homoeopathy (February 6) is welcome. It will help streamline the healthcare system, and will infuse accountability into the system. Moreover, health cover for all treatments will enhance employment in the insurance sector. Investment (public or private ) is the key for growth.
Apropos ‘Positive agri policies must be backed by strategy’ (February 6), the interim Budget’s slew of farm policy measures to enlarge crop insurance coverage, integrate agri mandis, and provide an electronically driven national agri marketing platform show the government’s concern for the farm sector. The upcoming full Budget must follow up on the announced policies and ensure effective implementation.