Boosting the Railways

The editorial ‘Off the rails’ (December 9) has a lot of useful information. Although trains are a comfortable mode of transport for the public, the costs of maintaining and running the service have become quite high for the Railways. The transporter should have revised upwards both passenger and and goods fares at regular intervals. The costs related to generating other sources of income should also be looked into. This should be done on a yearly basis.

TR Anandan


Rail traffic revenue

This refers to ‘Urgent steps required to improve Railways’ finances’ (December 9). Nations are actively brainstorming on traffic needs up to 2020 and then 2050, when traffic densities will be pushed beyond practical limits. Freight requirements will grow exponentially with a rise in GDP. The setting up of separate, high capacity freight lines, the Konkan Railway and the Container Corporation of India were welcome steps. With appropriate investment and policy, organisational innovations will be feasible.

Wages form a large chunk of the expenditure. These need to be split into salary and performance incentive.

The latter must be based on operational elements and relative performance, and assessed twice a year. Improved efficiency through employee empowerment and incentives will in itself enable ushering in increased and faster haulage and wagon turnaround.

A well-oiled organisation alone can lift operational competency. How can any commercial venture operate with expenses besting revenue consistently.

R Narayanan

Navi Mumbai

Onion debate

This refers to ‘Nirmala guilty of not ‘knowing her onions’” (December 9). There can’t be two opinions about the fact that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could have handled the Lok Sabha debate on rising onion prices with a bit of ‘tact and wit’.

However, as pointed out in the article, the key is that the answers to Parliamentary questions should be short and to the point and nothing must be said that gives room for further elucidation. By quite innocently and honestly responding to the opposition MP’s ‘onionised’ query, she got entrapped in his ‘ Chakravyuh ’.

It also goes without saying that this matter is being blown out of proportion. In the process, the real issues concerning the spiralling of onion prices now stands relegated to the back-burner.

Kumar Gupt

Panchkula, Haryana

Karnataka by-polls

By winning more than ten assembly seats in Karnataka where by-polls were held, the BJP government in the State led by its Chief Minister BS Yediyuruppa had not only ensured stability to its government but also dealt a big blow to its political opponents — the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) — who were hoping to stage a comeback. As some semblance of stability returns, Yediyuruppa must focus on delivering corruption-free governance and inclusive development in the State.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

DeMo is no game

This refers to the article ‘Time for DeMo 2.0?’ (December 9). It is surprising that social media gossip has found its way into the article. A bureaucrat who has scores to settle with the Finance Ministry and the RBI has been quoted as if his is the last word on currency management. The November 8, 2016, decision to deny legal tender status for two high denomination currency notes had transparent objectives, which were stated by the government.

As regards ₹2,000 denomination notes, it has been made public that as the demand is more for smaller denomination notes, more notes of ₹500 and below denomination are being printed and even ATMs will be dispensing less of ₹2,000 denomination notes. Over time, the supply of ₹2,000 may come down. Even if the RBI decides to phase out ₹2,000 notes, demonetisation may not be necessary unless large-scale hoarding or unethical use of the currency are suspected at a later stage.

Demonetisation is not a healthy game to be played every now and then.

MG Warrier


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