Railway modernisation, a long awaited reform

Railway modernisation a long awaited reform,Privatisation in Railways
     Railways is the largest asset in the country owned by Government. Now, everyone is worried about 'disinvestment' in Railways. People are equating disinvestment in PSUs with Privatisation in Railways. Basically there is misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Privatisation in Railways should not be called as disinvestment. In PSUs, equity is sold to public. That is disinvestment. In Railways, no equity /asset is sold. Certain services/ activity is leased/ given to contract/outsourced. These two are basically different . There is a privatisation but not disinvestment.
    Railways require lot of investment. Recently in Budget Finance Minister told that Railways require 50 lakh crore investment in the coming 10 years. Government can not mobilise the same. That is the reason , private participation is a must. Besides this, there was review on the functioning of Railways. In 2015, Vivek Debroy submitted interim report how to proceed on Railways. Lot of recommendations were made. In essence, the business model has to be totally changed, he advocated. Railways should concentrate on core business . Non-core business should be managed by separate entity. There are several other radical changes  suggested. Government was moving in that direction only. 
  Railways now planning certain services to be privatised like ticket counters, cleaning and sanitation etc. They already formed seperate Corporation for catering by name IRCTC. Similarly, they now formed Railway Stations Development Corporation to modernise Stations. It is another kind of business model. In this process, they may attract Private investment  wherever possible. At the same time, ownership remains with the Railways only. As usual and expected, there is lot of criticism from certain quarters. Last 70 years, the existing model failed to deliver the results. When compared to the rest of the world, we are far behind in development and modernisation of Railways. The people who were responsible and whose philosophy made the Railways suffer started campaign as if heavens are falling and everything going awry and people's welfare is sacrificed. Hope Government ignore these utterances and go ahead with the reforms. That is the only hope to see modern Railways in the country.


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