The Union Railway Budget 2016-17 was unveiled by Mr. Suresh Prabhu, the Hon. Railway Minister in Lok Sabha on 25th February, 2016. In his words, "Every customer is our brand ambassador." Taking cue from it, we noted the views of young management students of IIM Raipur. Here is the take of budding managers on the Railway Budget:
Ms. Rucha Badhe, a 1st year management student, views are, “A visionary, consumer-centric and an all-encompassing budget by our astute Railway Minister that caters to the needs of the middle and the economically backward classes as well as to form and function- with the introduction of the 4 new trains, techno logification of platforms, and introduction of bio-toilets. And all this in line with the Make in India initiative, boosting investments and employment."
“The Railway budget is focussed on improving the quality of travel in all aspects of journey and journey planning. The developed areas in the railroad topography have resorted to fewer gains from the budget whereas the untouched areas are to receive majority of the benefits,” opined Mr. Dinesh Venkatesan, a 1st-year student. He conveys that states that were previously separated by tough geographical landscape like Assam, Mizoram and Manipur are expected to get boost for industrial development in North East region, because railroad connectivity stands as a key competency indicator for the ideal pro-business environment. This effort is conducive in supporting other ongoing projects such as the NH-54 Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project aimed at international trade relations. Dinesh further adds that, “Opening our own first auto rail hub in the country and registering for special purpose vehicle in the much awaited Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor is an addition to the self-reliance of the massive organisation. The sprouting aggressive technological transformation in the railroad transportation is heralded by the efforts as mentioned above. Also infrastructure of close to 500 stations are to be improved in the next two years by installing or enhancing the wi-fi hubs present, E-catering to all rail stations and increase in lower berth quota for women passengers and senior citizens, 33% women quota in all reserved classes, incorporation of children's food menu are measures proposed to improve the travel of women and senior citizens.”
Mr. Gulshan Prakash, also a 1st-year student, terming the Railway budget as visionary with a focus on investments and infrastructure, describes that it is based on the 3Rs of restructure,reorganize and rejuvenate. The budget makes a sincere effort to meet the aspirations of an emerging world power. It marks a shift from the populist budgets of the past. From a Human Resource perspective, the proposal for a full-fledged Railway University is welcome.It will create skilled manpower necessary to meet the needs of Indian Railways of the future. Gulshan says, “A revamp of the internal audit system will bring efficiency in working practices, and is likely to strengthen the corporate governance of the Railways. The opening of broad guage Lumding-Silchar section in Assam, connecting Barak Valley with rest of the country will aid to the development of the North-Eastern region. A redesign of traditional, bulky railway coaches is also on the horizon. This will change the image of the Indian Railways to a modernized brand. We have to realize that the Railways has to focus on the commercial side of the business, focused on the providing a memorable experience to the passenger. The introduction of Utkrisht double-decker AC Yatri (Uday)Express with increased capacity of almost 40% will contribute towards this. Local cuisine of choice will be made available on railway routes. This will solve the perennial problem of providing quality food to passengers. The announcement for the creation of dedicated north-south, east-west and east coast freight corridors by 2019 will help augment the supply chain infrastructure in the nation. The budget also makes a sincere attempt at socio-economic equality and inclusiveness of all sections of the diverse Indian society. Coolies will now be respectably called 'Sahayaks'. However, coordination with law enforcement authorities for the safety of women needs tobe given due consideration.”
Mr. Punit Agarwal, another management student, charted out the major highlights of the budget as,” the introduction of fully unreserved superfast trains on dense traffic routes, bar-coded tickets on pilot basis to tackle menace of ticketless travel and increase in seat quota for woman and senior citizen and no fare hikes. 17 States have approved to form joint ventures for rail projects which opens new vistas for ownership in railway sector. He also announced the setting up of a full-fledged Railway University soon and the first auto hub in Chennai.”
Mr. Ajay Singla, a 1st-year management student, commented, “The development agenda of the current government has clearly been complemented by the Railway budget 2016-17. The provisions for WiFi facilities, increased quota for senior citizens and women, CCTV surveillance, GPS-based digital display, cleaning of toilets by requests through SMS etc. will help in improving the railways scenario in India. The new infrastructural projects announced in the budget require huge funds giving a hard challenge to the government given there are no hikes in the passenger fares. In the budget, there are no announcements of any new trains. However, the government has promised to add the new trains after the review about the capacity is over. Overall, the budget aims to facilitate the general public via various passenger-friendly initiatives.”