I normally do not have a view on the budget – simply because I am skeptical of what will get done. However, one thing that I have loved about the Na Mo Government is the implementation. They have not done any big bang theories..but have been chipping away at the small, insignificant looking thing and making an impact.

1. More toilets: given the ‘Swachha Bharat’ movement, Suresh Prabhu, has embarked on a cleanliness drive which is likely to make travelling a great pleasure going forward.

Caveat: People have to know how to keep it clean.

2. More time to plan and book your tickets: 120 days. If you can book your tickets so much in advance, I hope they also keep a system by which I will be able to ALTER the date of the journey. This will save a lot of server time….and there can be ‘alteration’ charges.

3. More technology for booking, complaints, feedback, safety: brilliant move, and can be done incrementally.

4. No new trains!! Yipee no train to Malda! However if he had to he would have introduced new trains from Mumbai and a few from Ahmedabad. He resisted that. I fully agree that it is not the Railway Minister’s job to announce new trains!!

5. More money to be spent on maintenance: should reduce accidents.

6. Improving efficiencies: sounds very small, but efficiencies are brought in incrementally – a big bang approach cannot work!

What I like about all these things being mentioned in the budget document is that the implementation can start TODAY. Let us say the Minister wants to build 650 toilets – if properly implemented it means about 650 stations and its surroundings will become cleaner. Let us assume only 550 toilets get built! SO WHAT…that much of India will become cleaner, right?

With the kind of land that they have in good locations, they could have created a slightly upmarket ‘bath’ joints. Charge say Rs. 200 and provide a clean bathroom, towel etc. Will dramatically help small businessmen, salesmen, etc. who now need to book a room just for the basics.

I am also happy that he has called it the INVESTING TIME – once the results start coming in, he can increase fares too. Let us face it there is a very big middle class India which is paying a MUCH HIGHER PRICE for travelling in ‘sleeper comfort’ – when they are going from Jaipur to Bengaluru. The train journey is so complicated.

How much do people pay? 2x the train fare. Time to capture the market.

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  1. How is 120 days advance booking period helpful? That is 4 months. On how many occasions can some family plan that far ahead? It is just a way for railways to fill their coffers with cancellation charges. Some people are just going to book tickets in anticipation of a travel and deny tickets to those who require to travel.

  2. Even after providing all these, it WILL be a tough task to raise the fare. You see, for aam administration, railways is the cheapest one. If you raise the fare, how will they travel? You are taking their basic right to move. Maybe, we can have a right to movement bill.

  3. I fully agree with you on having clean rooms for having bath & other on stations for short duration say 1 or 2 hours & railway can charge Rs. 200 or less. It will be a good thing when we are travelling with families or a connecting train to catch.

    Railway management seems to have allergy of simple things.

  4. Bath Joints: Really Sooperb suggestion.
    Ownership for Cleanliness is much needed than Building more toilets. I would say none of the Waiting room toilets are in pleasantly usable condition.

  5. Nice one “People have to know how to keep it clean” If people (all of us) being pride to be clean will make everything will work. Scenario in our country is that Keeping Clean is an education itself and hope all realizes. Keeping India Clean is a Pride which need to be in every citizen heart & mind!!!

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