Putting brakes on the practice of announcing politically-motivated new projects, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu has presented a praiseworthy and path-breaking Budget. He has focussed mainly on the much-needed but long-ignored modernisation of railways, including signalling systems, and on improvements in passenger facilities, including security, catering, sanitation etc. Special measures have been proposed to take care of women and senior citizens.
Much to the relief of the Aam Aadmi, there has been no hike in passenger fare. However, raising the period for advance booking from two months to four months, serves no purpose. Due to the involvement of touts, all the berths are filled within minutes on the opening day. It is impossible even for people in long queues at the reservation counters to get a confirmed ticket. In this situation, getting a confirmed reservation for a journey-requirement coming up later, is out of question. The need is to eliminate the role of touts in railway reservation with the help of technology.
M. C Joshi