Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mission privatisation relaunched as labour reforms passed in Parliament and Indian Railway is the first victim! Railways should be vehicle of India’s growth story,Modi said,understand this.Modi favours privatization, modernization of railway stations! Palash Biswas

Mission privatisation relaunched as labour reforms passed in Parliament and Indian Railway is the first victim!

Railways should be vehicle of India's growth story,Modi said,understand this.Modi favours privatization, modernization of railway stations!

Palash Biswas

Railways should be vehicle of India's growth story,Modi said,understand this.Modi favours privatization, modernization of railway stations!

"I want both horizontal and vertical development in railways. Horizontal means better network and vertical means better facilities," said Modi.

Most noteworthy,Modi also said that more money will flow into railways in the days to come as the government has wanted to privatise some railway stations in the country. "We want railways stations to be privatised. I believe railways should have even better facilities than airports as the common man travels through trains," Modi added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted so many time that his government would welcome greater private investment in Indian Railways.The India incs and foreign capital stress that during the general election campaign, Narendra Modi had professed that Government has no business to do business. As chief executive of the new administration, Prime Minister Modi should practice that principle.

Shafron governmet of India has decided to close down no less than seventy PSUs as it has endorsed the private party which declared these PSUs should not continue.No sell off,direct shutter down.Mission privatisation relaunced as labour reforms passed in Parliamnt and Indian Railway is the first victim already selected.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the Northeast Frontier Railway (NF Railway) Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday evening that the Indian Railways should be a vehicle of India's growth story and hoped that under the leadership of new railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the Indian Railways would make rapid progress in the days to come.

Just read between the lines.

Good luck to the emplyees of Indian Railway and Trade Unions active in this life line sector to be revitalised with privatisation and automation before bullet trains are introduced,that the hegemony may not afford to close down Indian Railway.It is going to close down Indian Railway.It is simply selling off Indian Railway.

It is not that the Railway employees and trade unions are ignorant of the disastrous development but they are not capable anyway to stop the guillotine and have surrendered as two of the Railway trade unions already prayed the merciless super slaves of foreign capital that they are ready to generate fund torun Indian Railway and Railway should not be privatised.

Just read again the reports of disinvestment council and disinvestment commissions once again which I posted several times during last ten years and quoted often.

Most profitable PSUs have to privatised and irrespective of sector situations ,everysector bankingr, ports, aviation, insurance, mining energy, trasport, education, health, food and suppply,Post,telecom, mining, steel, coal and so on,has to bear the burns sooner or later.

It is the turn of the Railway.Railway is subjected to privatisation since long. Railway ministers like Ram Vilas Paswan,Nitish Kumar,Mamata Banerjee and others have come a long way to privatise the premises, booking, catering,maintenance and construction in the sector.Only operation and signal  are the departments which have to be set free.

Even Railway fares have been decontrolled on the line of Oil and sugar,deregulated as it has been in sectors like health ,education,energy and so on.

As soon as NDA Two succeeded to pass labour reforms in the parliament it has become the killing fields all the way as labour rights being irrelevant,unwanted workers may well be shunted out to streamline Indian Railway on the privatisation bullet track.

Mind you,Parliament on Friday set the ball rolling for labour sector reforms by passing a Bill that seeks to exempt lakhs of small establishment from furnishing returns and maintaining registers.

The changes were in tune with the Modi government's efforts to amend the archaic labour laws to boost India's ranking in the ease of doing business index and boost the manufacturing sector to help create jobs.

The Lok Sabha passed the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment Bill, 2011, after rejecting amendments moved by Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Thus,the prime minister of India on his four day visit to Northeast declared at Guwahati that his government has decided to allow 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in railways, to spur the process of modernisation of Indian Railways and added that the government was also considering privatisation of railway stations to promote economic activities. The Government would also set up four Universities for the Railways, and graduates from these Universities would be able to contribute to the Indian Railways, also getting employment in the process, he added.

He, however, expressed disappointment that while the railways can be an engine of economic growth such a huge potential had not been properly recognised. Assuring that his government would expand and modernise the India railways he called for both horizontal expansion of railways – expanding the network to connect every nook and corner of the country, and vertical expansion of railways – which means capacity building, technology upgradation and better services.

As the Hindu reports,the Prime Minister, who drove straight to the venue immediately on his arrival at Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi international airport, said India now needs next-gen infrastructure – consisting of both highways and i-ways (information ways). He said there should be no digital divide, and the vision of Digital India should also encompass the North-East and the people living on the hills of THE region should have equal access to information technology as those living in the national capital and other cities. Why should there not be a gas-grid, why should we not get electricity for 24 hours, the Prime Minister asked, expressing confidence that next-gen infrastructure would be the key to building a modern India.

Mr. Modi, who arrived in Guwahati on a three-day visit to Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, said this while addressing a public function held at the Railway Stadium, Maligaon, in which he pressed remote buttons to flag off the first passenger train from Mendipathar in Meghalaya's North Garo Hills district to Guwahati and unveil the plaque of a foundation stone for a Broad Gauge railway line from Bhairibi to Sairang in Mizoram.

Narendra Modi and the case for Privatisation


During the general election campaign, Narendra Modi had professed that Government has no business to do business. As chief executive of the new administration, Prime Minister Modi should practice that principle.

India began liberalising its economy in 1991 but cartels and monopolies persist across sectors, with truly horrific consequences in some instances. Rail transportation remains a Government-owned monopoly. The sector is in the same state as telecommunications used to be before the game-changing New Telecom Policy of 1999. All administrative, commercial, operational and regulatory responsibilities are vested in the behemoth that is the Union Railways Ministry. And this has disastrous consequences for economic efficiency and consumer safety. According to official figures put out by the Railways Ministry, over 50,000 people were killed between 2009-2012 alone for trespassing and encroaching on railway tracks. This number doesn't include train accidents. It would be fair to say that lakhs of people would have died over the decades owing to the Railways Ministry's lax safety measures and out-of-date practices. We have become dinned into accepting train accidents – it doesn't even evince a public reaction anymore.

Coal mining is in a similar mess. India is a net importer of coal even though it has the world's fifth coal reserves. There is a mafia and organised crime ecosystem that has entwined itself with coal mining. Coal India Limited, a Government-owned monopoly, is a cesspool of corruption and a company that is criminally wasteful that runs roughshod over local communities with impunity. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 how Bokapahari village in Jharkhand had become the "Biblical vision of hell", as coal fires raged below the ground and made it hard to walk. The villagers, who work as coal pickers, have witnessed their dwellings collapse into the ground, consumed by the fires below. It would not be surprising if this incredible reality holds true in many more villages in coal mining regions

Banking, pensions and insurance continue to be dominated by state-owned companies. Every so often, India's public sector banks are bailed out by the Government and the bailouts are euphemistically hailed as a "recapitalisation". The pensions and insurance industry is dominated by Government-controlled behemoths. It has become an accepted norm that pension funds are vassals for the Government of India, who are forced to buy Government debt – they are restrained from investing in other financial instruments and managing their fund corpus professionally. Successive Governments have maintained this repressive system, but the UPA Government went one step ahead. It turned public financial institutions into reliable ATMs – they were regularly called upon to buy shares in other public sector units, and the Government deemed this farcical, fraudulent exercise to be 'disinvestment'.

Before liberalisation, aviation was the sole preserve of Government airlines. In recent years, the private sector has entered civil aviation and today dominates the industry in terms of market share, with private airlines emerging as preferred operators for consumers. But white elephants like Air India persist, and have guzzled up tens of thousands of crores of rupees over the years. The sloth-like Government grandee is simply not as nimble and innovative enough as its private sector competitors. Lately, in an astonishing display of its sense of entitlement, Air India sought permission to issue tax-free bonds (even though it already has a crushing debt burden of over Rs 40,000 crore). One should also ask why the Government should give Air India such special treatment, and why private sector airlines too shouldn't be allowed to issue tax-free bonds. Direct and indirect subsidies given to the Government air carrier distort the civil aviation industry and discriminate against the private sector.

Last year, Air India doled out 24,000 free tickets to employees and their extended families, even as it ran up a loss of almost Rs 4,000 crore – Air India's definition of 'family' includes not just an employee's children, spouse and parents, but siblings, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law too. The airline management has been allowed by the Government to carry on this grotesque and shameless wastage of public money with impunity.

It would be unacceptable, even criminal, if any private sector firm would get away with what the Government of India has been in the railways, financial and coal mining sectors. No private sector company could possibly operate with the carte blanche from promoters that Air India is allowed at the expense of Indian taxpayers.

Where are the legions of NGOs and activists when thousands die year after year due to negligence on part of the Railways, when Coal India's mining practices subject local communities to a "Biblical hell", when public money is frittered away by the gargantuan wastage of PSU financial institutions and rapacious organisations like Air India?

But unions and activists can be counted upon to swing into action should the Government utter the P-word – the mere mention of privatisation raises the hackles of this extractive lobby that is able to scuttle change and reform simply by being the noisiest.

The Prime Minister made a bold statement when he said during the general election campaign that "Government has no business to do business." The mandate he has received does provide space to follow the principle in Government. But based on his record running the Gujarat Government, the Prime Minister is reputed as one who also thinks that Government-owned companies can be "professionalised". It may have been possible to professionalise and improve the operations of certain sector-specific businesses in one State – but it is debatable whether ginormous bureaucracies and national monopolies like Coal India and Indian Railways can be professionalised.

The challenge with privatisation is that those who gain from it are a diffuse group, while those who stand to lose are a concentrated lobby. The latter is able to derail the process because it is organised and vocal. Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Government broke with all precedent and successfully sold off Government-owned companies in sectors such as food processing, telecom and hotels. After the 2004 general election defeat, it was suggested that one of the reasons for the loss was the Government's antagonisation of powerful unions and organised lobbies that lost out due to the privatisation policy. It is also notable that when the Vajpayee Government pursued this policy, it received almost no support from the mainstream media or the intellectual establishment.

Today, the context has changed. Were the Modi Government to privatise companies, one can say with confidence that the social media army that powered his rise will back him to the hilt, for it is to implement game-changing policies like these that Narendra Modi won people's support. In the decade since 2004, liberal economic ideas have gained wider acceptance in media and intellectual circles too — Centre-Right thinkers who shape public opinion will also support the Government's efforts. The Government has taken an excellent step by allowing 100 per cent FDI in Railways infrastructure, and predictably railway unions have launched protests — the corporatisation of Railways, on the lines of how BSNL was created by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, should be the next step. When Vajpayee took this step, 400,000 Department of Telecommunication employees went on a prolonged strike, but he faced up to them – this Government too should muster the courage to take on the unions instead of get bogged down by them. A clutch of special interests should not be allowed to hold the country's interest to ransom.

By privatising wasteful public sector companies such as Air India, and breaking Government monopolies such as Indian Railways and Coal India, the Modi Government would send the strongest signal that it represents a clean break from Nehruvian policies that impoverished Indians. Time is of essence – the Prime Minister should forge ahead trusting that the people, who gave him this historic mandate, will back him up.

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