21 October, 2020

These Bullets Don’t Fire

This isn’t a turnaround rail budget

AFP (From Outlook 21 July 2014)
These Bullets Don’t Fire

Despite announcing what sections of the media saw as a “visionary” rail budget, complete with high-speed bullet trains and foreign direct investment, Union railways minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda will stop short of steering the Indian Railways back on track. Though the budget talks about a lot of corrective measures—sprucing up existing systems and the completion of incomplete and stagnating projects—it has not attended to one of its bedrocks: the large mass of railway employees.

With expectations from the new government being huge, there was hope that railway employees would benefit. Now there is a general sense of disenchantment among employees and across railway unions. Says Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation, “It is extremely disheartening. The per capita contribution to the Central Staff Benefit Fund has been increased by just Rs 300 which will mean nothing and the government is mum on filling up 2.5 lakh vacancies in a time-bound manner or for providing staff for the increased number of trains...



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