Saturday, February 25, 2006

INDIAN Railway Budget 2006-07

Indian Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav today presented the Railway Budget of 2006-07, in parliament.

courtsy Indian Railways
15 points of Speech of Shri Lalu Prasad
Introducing the Railway Budget 2006-07

On 24th February 2006

1. Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present the Budget Estimates 2006-07 for the Indian Railways at a point in time when, there has been a historical turn around in the financial situation of the Indian Railways. Our fund balances have grown to Rs. 11,000 cr and our internal generation, before dividend has also reached a historic level of Rs. 11,000 cr. With this unprecedented achievement, we are striding to realize the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s dream of making Indian Railways the premier railway of the world. Sir, this is the same Indian Railways which, in 2001 had deferred dividend payment, whose fund balances had reduced to just Rs. 350 cr and about which experts had started saying that it is enmeshed a terminal debt trap. You might term this a miracle, but I was confident that :

“Mere zunu ka natija zaroor niklega,
isee siaah samandar se noor niklega.”

2. Sir, the whole nation can see today that track is the same, railwaymen are the same but the image of Indian Railways is aglow. This has been the result of the acumen, devotion and determination of lakhs of railwaymen. Sir, the general perception so far has been that Railways’ finances cannot be improved without increasing second class passenger fares. But my approach is entirely different. In my view, improvements can only be brought about by raising the quality of services, reducing unit costs and sharing the resultant gain with customers. Therefore, instead of following the beaten path, we decided to tread a new one.

“Hum bhi dariya hai, apnaa hunar hame maloom hai,
jis taraph bhi chal padenge, rastaa ban jayega.”

Financial turn around of Indian Railways

3. Sir, I take pride in informing this House that in the first nine months of the year 2005-06, the Railways’ output has been record breaking. The growth in freight loading is 10% and in freight revenues it is over 18%. Based on the trends up to now, the freight loading target is being increased from 635 mt to 668 mt and the goods revenues target from Rs. 33,480 cr to Rs. 36,490 cr. Thus, Railways would achieve incremental freight loading of 111 mt in two years itself, which will be 133% higher as compared to the incremental loading of 83 mt of entire Ninth Five Year Plan period. Tenth Plan targets of 624 mt loading and 396 billion tonne kilometers have been surpassed one year in advance. Sir, I not only hope but firmly believe that we would surpass the Tenth Five Year Plan’s incremental target of 63 billion tkm for freight business by over 200%.

4. According to Revised Estimates, Passenger Earnings, Other Coaching earnings and Sundry Other earnings are likely to register growths of 7%, 19% and 56%, respectively. Gross Traffic Revenues are expected to be Rs. 54,600 cr, which are higher as compared to the previous year and Budget Estimates of the current year by 16 % and 7%, respectively.

5. Ordinary Working Expenses are likely to increase by Rs. 1,200 cr, mainly due to post-budgetary increase in fuel prices. Lease charges paid for rolling stock taken on financial lease have till now been shown as operating expenditure, without segregating interest and principal repayment component. As mentioned in my speech last year, to bring in more transparency and better accounting practices, necessary changes in accounting system have been made to reflect expenditure on lease charges accordingly, with necessary approval. These changes in the accounting system have effected a reduction of Rs. 1,616 cr. in the operating expenses. Overall, Revised Estimate of Ordinary Working Expenses has been kept at Rs. 35,184 cr, which is Rs. 416 cr lesser as compared to the Budget Estimates. As a result of these changes in the accounting system, an improvement of around 3% is also reflected in the operating ratio.

6. According to the Revised Estimates of the current year, Indian Railways’ internal resources before dividend, would reach a historic level of Rs. 12,966 cr. Even after setting aside the effect of the accounting changes mentioned earlier, this amount would be Rs. 11,350 cr. Fund balances would be at a record level of Rs. 11,280 cr and the operating ratio is expected to improve to 83.7%.

Technological Upgradation and Modernisation

7. The technological upgradation in every field of Railway working will be given the utmost priority so that the reliability of services can be improved to gain customers’ confidence and also bring down the operating and maintenance costs.

8. Wagons are Railways’ revenue earning assets. While the Railways modernized their locomotives and coaches in nineties, wagons presently deployed still use the technology of the eighties. It is not possible to load our covered and open wagons beyond 64 tonnes, except with certain heavy commodities. RDSO is designing new high capacity wagons. Commodities like coal can be loaded up to 70 tonnes in these new wagons. Prototypes of these wagons will be developed in the coming year and trials will be completed. Regular production of the new wagons, with payload to tare weight ratio of even better than 3:1, will start from 2007-08. All possible efforts will be made to start manufacturing aluminum and stainless wagons also in 2006-07 to improve the payload to tare weight ratio.

9. Sir, while this is an important achievement, it is not enough. In the future we have to manufacture 25 tonne axle load wagons which can carry loads up to 80 tonnes and whose payload to tare weight ratio is around 4:1. We need to manufacture special wagons to increase Railways’ share in the transportation of commodities like motor vehicles, petrochemicals, etc. At present this technology is not available in our country. Therefore, transfer of technology will have to be encouraged for developing such wagons for which the Railways will provide the necessary policy framework.

Use of modern Signaling and Telecommunication Technology

10. The advanced railways of the world are extensively using modern signaling and telecommunication technology to enhance safety, streamline train operations and increase line capacity. Using such technologies is cost effective. I, therefore, have decided that modern signaling and telecommunication means will be used for improving safety and enhancing line capacity on trunk and main routes. A multi disciplinary team will be constituted for an in depth study of various advanced signaling and telecommunication alternatives. This team will submit its report within three months. After reviewing the report, a policy will be framed for deciding extensive use of these technologies.

Public Partnership and Public-Private Partnership Schemes

11. Today, when Indian Railways are scaling historic heights in freight and passenger business, we will not allow resource constraints to hamper expansion of rail network. We will encourage public partnerships and public-private partnership schemes for effecting significant improvements in rail services and development and expansion of rail network. To this end, a level playing field under a transparent policy will be provided to investors by further simplifying the policy of public-private partnership. This is the need of the hour :-

“Ek kadam hum badhe, ek kadam tum,
aao milkar naap de, phasle chand tak.”

Year of Passenger Service with a Smile : 2006

12. Sir, we have decided that the year 2006 shall be the year of Passenger Service with a smile

“Mun me bhav seva ka, hotho par muskan,
Behtar seva wazib daam, rail ki hogi yeh pehchan.”

Staff Welfare

13. Sir, with their continuous hard work 14 lakh railwaymen have effected a historic turn around in the financial position of the railways. In my New Year message to railway men I had assured them that to the extent possible their expectations would be met in the current year.

“Kaamgaaro ki lagan se, hai tarakki sabki,
hausla inka badhao, ki yeh kuchh aur baddhe.”

Proposals relating to freight rates & passenger fares.
Dynamic Pricing Policy

14. Sir, generally the public apprehends that fares and freight would increase in the Rail Budget. This apprehension has, however, been proved baseless in every Railway Budget presented by me. In my view the basic “mantra” for success in a competitive market is not increasing tariffs, but reaching the benefits of reduced costs to customers. I would like to express this in the following words :

“Aam admi hee hamara devta hai,
vah jeetega toh hum bhi jeet payenge,
tabhi toh yeh tay karke baithey hain,
faisle ab usi ke hak mein jaayenge.”

15. Sir, the excellent performance of railways has been possible only due to the able guidance provided by Hon’ble Prime Minister. He has always encouraged us and provided constructive assistance. On behalf of the entire railway family, I express my gratitude to him. I also thank all the railwaymen who, working as an excellent team, have completed the given tasks with dedication and devotion. I also profusely thank passengers and other railway users who have continuously cooperated with us and I hope that they would continue to do so in future also. 130. Sir, I consider myself fortunate for having the opportunity to serve the nation through the railway service. I would like to assure the House that we will be continuously striving to meet the expectations of public by constantly improving railway services. During discussions on the Railways, Hon’ble Members have always boosted our morale. While wishing that they continue to harbour these sentiments, I would like to say

‘Yeh inaayat nahin, mera vishwas hai,
daurey mehengai mein rail sasti rahe,
apnaa inaam humko to mill jayega,

rail par aapki sarparasti rahe.”

Friday, February 10, 2006

An Indian couple does not meet for 60 years due to martial obstinacy

In a strange case of martial obstinacy, a couple in a village of Seopur district of Central INDIAN state of Madhya Pradesh did not meet each other since past 60 years and the husband passed away.

Bachheri village resident Shankar got married to Kudayatha village’s Narayani around 60 years ago. Accourding to the villagers, Shankar had gone to bring his wife from her home after the marriage but the “Vidai” (traditional way of bride’s departure from home) ceremony could not take place. Shankar vowed not go to his “Sasural” (Wife’s parental home called “Sasural”, in Hindi language) again.

On the other hand, Narayani swore not to go to her husband’s house until he himself came to take her. Their martial life passed away in “WAITING”. Shankar died in February, 7 leaving 75-year-old Narayani to live the life of widow.

This case shows rich culture of INDIA, both hunsband and wife passed whole life without meeting each other but did not re-marry.

Monday, February 06, 2006

An INDIAN teacher claimed world record for teaching 78hr 45minutes

Madan Singh Bhadoriya, a teacher in Central School- Bihari Bal Mandir, in Bhind (Notorious for Bandits), in Central INDIAN state of Madhya Pradesh, claimed world record for teaching 78hr 45minutes. He taught his student continuous for five days and four nights. Now Madan is planning to apply in Guinness Book of world records. In Guinness Book continuous teaching record of 77hr registered, which Madan broke by 78hr 45minutes.

District Education Officer Rajesh Raghuwanshi of Bhind witnessed his record teaching, and formed a Video Cassette of his teaching. Rajesh has said, Madan bring pride for people of our state by setting world record.

Madan colleague Pyarelal Chourasia has said, previously Madan had tried two failed attempt in 2005, which are of 24hours & 18 hours, but this time he get success in setting world record.

After getting success in his third attempt Madan gave credit to his students, for their cooperation as without their cooperation he could not do anything.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Recently, I had a discussion with a respected Hindu Swamiji with thousands of followers. When asked about coercive religious conversion of Hindus, Swamiji scornfully replied “Why worry, all religions are essentially the same and there is no significant differences from one religion to another”. My immediate response, of course was to ask why he might not want to distinguish between Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. Swamiji insisted, “The goal of all religions is the same. All religious paths lead to the same destination. We are talking about the same God, only the name is different”. He encouraged me to dismiss coercive religious conversion with out worry.

Where do we get this idea? Although religion is one of the universals of human culture, in a historical view, we are confronted not by spirituality but by a multiplicity of religions. Unlike our all inclusive, tolerant, spiritual Dharma, religions of the book differ in fundamentals. Every religion is different, with its own beliefs, rituals, organization, and belief in afterlife, practices, and theory of birth, death, atonement, art, dress and festivals. The paths prescribed for salvation or self-realization is also different.

Hinduism is one of the oldest of all religions and we believe that our life on earth is part of an eternal cycle of births, deaths, and rebirths. We have no single belief system single sacred text, or priestly hierarchy. There are certain shared beliefs and sacred paths prescribed for every Hindu for God realization. Our Vedas, Upanishads, Darsanas and Puranas have given us clear and definite guidelines for overcoming Samsara and paths to reach Godhead. There are various paths to Moksha and prescription for a transcendent life. We can believe in a personal God or impersonal idea, higher or unseen. Hinduism serves a rational purpose, responding to cognitive as well as emotional and spiritual needs. Hindu Dharma is eternal, it can be studied and practiced and spiritual life can be experienced.

Islam and Christianity are religions of the book with a specific God, messenger, strict rules, prescription to follow, organizational hierarchy and dogmatic belief system. These are closed, dogmatic and fundamentalist and closed belief systems, which divide people between believers and non-believers. Followers are provided restricted guidelines for right belief and practices. Belief in other Gods and interpretation of their scripture is not allowed. Islam is more rigid, dogmatic and imperialistic. For centuries Islam and Christianity destroyed civilization of non-believers, forcefully converted non-believers, fought war in the name of their religion. Christian and Islamic dogmatism led to violent religious conflict, on a scale unknown to followers of other religions. For centuries, Christians and Muslims have persecuted non-believers. Even today, these fundamentalist dogmas have been creatiing tension and conflict around the world. Christianity and Islam do not believe that there is truth in other religions and spirituality, and that the teachings of many different religious leaders are inspired by evil.

The Roman Catholic Church explains in a Vatican declaration Doninus Lesus “Religions other than Christianity are considered to be gravely deficient. Their rituals can constitute an obstacle to salvation for their followers. A very lengthy stay in hell awaits the unsaved. The adverse consequences of individual following another religion other than Catholic religion are severe-perhaps, eternity in hell”. Pope Ratzinger stated, “Only the canonical books of old and new Testaments are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are without error”. The Baptist teaches “ that all things are held together in Christ, Christ only, that all creation will find its ultimate fulfillment in Christ. Jesus shall reign for ever and ever”.

The idea “all religions are the same” involves a radical misinterpretation of all religions. Such thinking is barren, diseased, and sterile. Hindus are making a huge mistake by lumping all religions together without critical evaluation or rational analysis. Lack of precision in distinguishing between religions is the natural enemy of clear thought. There is nothing boring, nothing more dreary, than the statement “all religions are the same”. The more passionately and emotionally one is committed to such catch all statement, the cloudier and fuzzier one’s thinking tends to be.

When a person believe in mindless universalism, he becomes a determinist, all events, all motives including Jihadi terrorism are seen through the astigmatic vision of such false ideology. Through these clouded eyes even coercive religious conversion, discrimination of Hindus by Muslims, religious intolerance, and denial of religious rights for Hindus are transmuted into fairy gold of religious purity.

It is typical, characteristic, of such people to think unclearly. The tricks of fallacious argument are endemic among them. The concept “all religions are the same’ is a false plurality. Even though it is not in the best interests of Hindus to do so, the faulty analogy is used as a proof of tolerance. This is an old shabby trick to avoid reality. Those who disagree with this distorted ideology are dumped as intolerant and communal. More importantly, this false ideology becomes unarticulated premise and unchallengeable. More than that, for them, there is no need to think. Such faulty, repugnant idea is dishonest and deplorable. Such habitual jargon never allows us to see other religions more clearly and protect our interests. We need to make a distinction between right and wrong, good and bad. We need to ponder what to do to protect our eternal Dharma and why to do it.

The proposition that “all religions are the same’ is a bizarre self-negating and self-devouring logic. In such logic, there is no choice, no self-determination. It destabilizes religious discourse and forces us to the acceptance of irrational, totalitarian dogmas couched in scholastic terminology as religions. Christianity and Islam are rigid, dogmatic ideologies, tools and closed systems. To treat them as spirituality is immaturity and false consciousness.

Hindus need to counter the growing trend among pseudo secularists and phony liberals to promote the false ideology “all religions are the same”. What we need is an informed mind to rationally conclude that religions of the books and Hindu Dharma are not complementary. Rather than forcing our fellow Hindus to become servants and slaves of any one dogma, we need to protect our freedom to practice our eternal Hindu Dharma.