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News Entry# 393239
Oct 14 (14:24) Railway unions mull ‘indefinite strike’ against privatisation (
IR Affairs

News Entry# 393239  Blog Entry# 4457974   
  Past Edits
Oct 14 2019 (14:24)
Train Tag: Lucknow Jn. - New Delhi IRCTC Tejas Express/82501 added by 12302 ER King~/1996412
A view of the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, India’s first ‘private’ train. Indian Railways has also formed a committee of Secretaries to fast-track the privatisation of 50 stations
A view of the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, India’s first ‘private’ train. Indian Railways has also formed a committee of Secretaries to fast-track the privatisation of 50 stations | Photo Credit: Nand Kumar
‘Given the government’s attitude, we may be forced to take up path of confrontation’
India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), the largest railway union which is also the largest employees union in the country, is considering an indefinite strike to protest against the “indiscriminate” privatisation of operating trains, stations, production units, among others.
The move comes against the backdrop of Railways forming a committee of Secretaries to fast-track the privatisation of 50 stations, following a letter from NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. This, however, was just one step forward in the series of moves taken towards privatisation by Indian Railways, which the unions have opposed. The Sangh Parivar supported Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh is among the various unions that have opposed this move. Given the government’s attitude, “we may be forced to consider a path of confrontation,”AIRF General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra told BusinessLine. “The Railway Minister has already asked the Chairman Railway Board to loop in the Unions transparently about Railways’ plan to ‘improve services’ by involving private sector,” said Mishra.
Not new
AIRF pointed out that the Railways being pushed towards privatisation is not new. Even under UPA regime, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission (NITI Aayog’s previous avatar) had written a similar letter to the then CRB. But, the committee was not formed.
In a letter to the Railway Minister a day before the committee was formed, AIRF’s Mishra warned, “Any move to shift the existing time-tested system to an uncertain system, by involving private agencies in train operation, is bound to create uncalled for industrial unrest in the Indian Railways as the railwaymen are badly perturbed on this account.”
The committee was formed within a day of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant writing to the Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav, in which Kant referred to running 150 trains through private mode and the slow-pace of railway stations modernisation.
Kant informed the Railway Board Chairman that he had already discussed the “issue” with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
Handing over certain profit earning trains to private agencies would....further deteriorate the financial health of Indian Railways, AIRF said. It further pointed out that railways is already operating semi-high speed trains made in railways’ production units at cheaper prices than those made globally.
Mishra said after the discussions with CRB, the AIRF will convene a meeting of its working committee to chart the future action. “More or less, workers have agreed for a strike. As per the process followed for strike, the Union will have to hold a secret ballot of employees, where at least half of the employees will have to vote in favour of a strike.
To cover all the employees of Railways, a strike that spans six shifts is required. Otherwise, certain segment of railway employees will be involved, who may be singled out and targeted by government,” explained Mishra. In the last few years, Railway employees have voted for indefinite strikes in 2016 and 2013. But, the last indefinite strike of railways was held almost 45 years ago in 1974. The BMS has also opposed the new move. “Our federation in the Railways, Bharatiya Railway Mazdoor Sangh, has written to the Railway Minister protesting the step taken by NITI Aayog. People in NITI Aayog have no understanding of the ground realities of the country. Railways is the backbone of our economy. Government going away from manufacturing and services sectors will do no good for the country,” said BMS national executive member Girish Arya.
AIRF objected to the formation of the committee, comprising CEO NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant, Chairman Railway Board, Secretary Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to fast-track station modernisation, approve bidding documents and ensure award of projects.

2 Public Posts - Mon Oct 14, 2019

4 Public Posts - Tue Oct 15, 2019

Oct 15 (13:41)
kedarc68   318 blog posts
Re# 4457974-7            Tags   Past Edits
I am not cruel to beggars or vendors. Already pointed out earlier that both are punishable offenses in railways. In other words, crimes. Its individuals' wish if they want to travel safely, premium and pvt. trains are an option. Please don't be so sympathetic that they be allowed onto these trains too. Tomorrow, you might want them on air ports and flights. :P

Oct 15 (13:54)
kedarc68   318 blog posts
Re# 4457974-8            Tags   Past Edits
Sir they are allowing private parties to run the trains, not giving them anything else. These pvt. parties will own, maintain (cosmetics, mainly) and operate trains, not their locos and running staff, that is loco pilots and guards. And no one is going to cancel any existing trains, for any demand. For example Howrah/Sealdah Raj may go into pvt. hands, but they can't discontinue Poorva exp. or any other train on the route.
Look what happened in telecom sector. Are you much better off today than you were at the mercy of BSNL? Same with airline sector. Are you better off today than Air India/Indian Airlines days? Same with state transport. Pvt. buses are offering much better than state transport buses.
it is about competition. More the competition, better for us. Whoever serves us better stays, rest... Remember, customer (passenger in this ) is the king and decides what is best. Let us have options. Don't we have many political parties to choose from who runs our country?

Oct 15 (21:08)
gkrish230~   240 blog posts   4 correct pred (83% accurate)
Re# 4457974-9            Tags   Past Edits
If IR retains rake maintenance, technical staff (Locopilots, guards) etc., then what exactly do the private entities supposedly bring? When you throw the word privatization, I am not bothered with ancillary services like OBHS, catering etc. which IR benefits if they outsource/leverage PPP as it isn't their primary business model.
My concern regarding privatization is w.r.t how chunks of routes are balkanized and sold to the highest bidders, and instead of zonal divisions like SR,CR,SCR etc., we will end up with something like Tier I traffic network, Tier 2 traffic
network etc. zones segregated based on profitability.
A business model when privatized add considerable amounts of volatility and in India where justice mechanism is inefficient and lawmakers don't really understand industry, private players crave profitability mainly through 2 means: deregulation and arbitrary price setting, both of which can be disastrous for IR.
You gave a sensible example of TRAI and BSNL. Now, let me ask you, if the 5 odd surviving competitors (Jio, Bharti Airtel etc.) together decided to increase tariffs by 100%, what option do we have? You can be sure BSNL won't seek to compete and match them at least since the government has its eyes on votes. Same as my example for Insurance companies and LIC. But what happens if an entity like BSNL does not exist and is made to shrivel for the sake of these companies?
And like telephone operators drop certain plans fro their offer and airliners call off certain routes when they don't get their desired profits, how much of that volatility can IR withstand?
Customer preferences are already well-established, when people opt for railways, they are doing so for the value proposition and the benefit of lower cost. Cleanliness, Punctuality etc. are standards that must be met for all kinds of passengers and that is no excuse nor any sense to suggest privatizing will help these parameters. Private players, unless they are bringing something to the table, like adding serious infra (futuristic Bullet/Metro projects), should not be allowed to set prices/takeover routes etc.

Oct 15 (21:28)
kedarc68   318 blog posts
Re# 4457974-10            Tags   Past Edits
As I followed the train privatization, I understand that unless private players bring in newer technology for rakes, they will use IRs rake and maintenance services. Whatever they can offer is onboard. Like plush seating, their own set of on board entertainment, cuisine and furnishings. Other value added services could be on board shopping, may even be a spot auction/lottery (to promote brands/products), pick-up/drop from and to stations. Another feature is the top priority they will get for their scheduled runs. They may offer on board saloon/parlour services, too. But most importantly, they all will have flexi-fare decided by railways. So also, the time-tables will be decided by railways. So they can't hide from low occupancy or use surge pricing.

Oct 15 (23:50)
drnrar~   515 blog posts   1 correct pred (100% accurate)
Re# 4457974-12            Tags   Past Edits
Where due to privatisation have seen loss in jobs.. if government would not have liberalized and privatized in 90s .. many of us would have been living in the dirth...
Have you seen the airfares after opening it for the private sector ? They are now cheaper and more efficient due to privatization...
Only undeserved will not get job security.. which is happening now... Sarkari Damaads will.lose the jobs.. privatisation will surely improve the quality and efficiency of the service..
am ready to shed more a for and efficient transport facilities.. as what people are doing by traveling via Air..
Railways has become outdated , slow and inefficient way of transport ... People are shifting to road and air due to that... This is only because of red tapism , lack of motivation to improvise in the government sector..
We all know how tenders are awarded in railways.. how officials are set to ignore poor services by the private vendors.. who are getting paid whether they are serving quality or not... Your reply also give a good reason for the private trains.. when the income will totally depend on the quality of service and there will be competition... Private player will surely present efficient services..
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