Railway Budget 2016-17 -shows poor performance during 2015-16


The Railway budget figures show very poor performance of the Ministry of Railways during 2015-16.Revised Estimates for Gross Traffic Receipts at Rs.167834 crores is only 91.4% of the Budget Estimates 2015-16 and also is higher than the 2014-15 actual Receipts of  Rs.156710 crore  by only about 7%. Considering the annual inflation, at constant prices, estimated gross traffic receipts might be less than the actual receipts of the previous year. This speaks very poorly of the efficiency of the Ministry of Railways.

Revised Estimates of the total working expenses 2015. In fact-16 is Rs.150690 crores which is about 93% of the Budget Estimates 2015-16 and is 5.3% higher than 2014-15  actual expenditure, Considering lower price of diesel, the expenditure could have been less.

An expenditure of Rs.4060 crores on construction of new lines was anticipated, but only Rs.2061 crore is estimated to have been spent/will be spent during the year. In the normal course, the actual expenditure is higher than estimate on account of inflation, but here it is the reverse. This is surprising ,because there are always demands from the public and the Members of Parliament for sanctioning/completing of new lines, Similarly Revised Estimates 1015-16 is much lower than Budget Estimates in respect of  guage conversion, doubling of lines, traffic facilities, rolling stock etc are also. This again shows the inefficiency of the Ministry

When salaries, prices of raw materials(except diesel), etc. has increased, keeping the passenger fares unaltered is not a great achievement. In fact, the passenger fares, freight rates etc. should be higher than the rate of inflation, so that there is more savings which can be used for new lines, additional lines, passenger amenities, safety measures etc.

Government has invested about  Rs.400000/-crores on assets building. If the assets particularly land, are revalued, the investment by the Government is much higher, The net income in a year should be at least 10% of the assets which is over Rs.40,000 crores.One could appreciate the Budget if it had shown this much profit/additional investment. One fondly hopes that in future we have budgets which show reasonable profits and investments.




Recently there were moderate to heavy rains in certain parts of Tamilnadu but in certain other parts like in many places in Dharmapuri district there were no rains. Hewever, one could see clouds every day. There are general theories on how clouds are formed and how it rains.

Cloud seeding is done by many countries including India for inducing rainfall. Now what is required is research on reducing the cost of cloud seeding.

There is also need for research on rainfall when there are no clouds over the area where rain is desired. There should be research on moving rain bearing clouds from where ever they are to where ever rain is required. The cost should be affordable. There are generally more clouds over sea than over land and rain is more required over land than over sea. During day time winds blow from sea to land and vice-versa during night time. But this does not happen some times and rain bearing clouds are not moved by winds to land during day time. Now the research should be on moving clouds from over sea to land at affordable cost.If the cost is affordable, then the clouds can be moved also from places where the rain is causing floods to dry areas. Considering the amount of time,energy, money needed to mitigate the effects and contain damages of heavy floods, expenditure on research on moving clouds is worth spending.

Bihar- present status and strategy for faster development


Bihar state had/has able, efficient and illustrious Chief Ministers like S.K.Sinha, Bhola Paswan Shastri, Dr.Jagannath Mishra, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Some of them had very successful Cabinet Ministers at the Central Government holding important portfolios. The state also had/has brilliant bureaucrats. Some of the successful bureaucrats at the Central government are from Bihar cadre. But none of them was able to lift the state out of poverty. The state was under President’s rule several times though for short periods. Among the states, Bihar still has the lowest per capita income of just Rs12000/-per year. The production of food grains is only 10 million tonnes in 2010-11, less than the production of 10.6 million tonnes in 1991-92. The yield per hectare of land instead of increasing over the years has come down from 1450 kg/hectare(ha) in 1991-92 to 1090 kg per ha in 2010-11. The national average yield in 2010-11 is 2240kg/ha. The people of Bihar do not produce even 100 kg of food grains per head per year while other states on an average produce more than 200kg per head per year.

One of the major reasons for the backwardness of the state is the very high density of population (1100 per sq.km) and a very high population growth rate(25% during 2001-11) and the inability of the successive governments to launch huge developmental projects which would have increased the per capita income and reduced population growth rate. Among the major states, Bihar has the highest population growth rate.

Law and order situation is also not satisfactory.

Experiments like postponing elections for two-three years, forming non-party government, imposing President’s rule, emergency etc could be debated

Wiping out world food deficit


World food situation is not as alarming as is reported by FAO, media etc.

1.If D.R.Congo and Angola which together have as much land as India (over3 million sq.km) and which receive as much rainfall as India could bring under cultivation as large land as India, get yield of 2.5MT/ha as in India ( which is very low compared to world average or countries like China,US,) and produce about230 million MT, Africa will become self sufficient in food grains.The world will become surplus in grains for many years to come.

2.If India increases yield from 2.5MT/ha on its cereal acreage of 92 million ha to about 4 MT/ha (against china’s yield of 5.5MT/ha and US’ yield of 6.9 MT/ha) the additional food production of about 138 million MT will wipe out deficit in Africa. The world would be faced with huge surplus leading to fall in prices.

3.If US and other developed countries bring down the consumption of meat by 50%, consumption still being many times that of India, the grains saved from feeding animals will more than offset the African grain deficit and the world will have surplus for many years.

4.If Russia can increase average yield on its 32 million ha from 1.8 MT/ha to3.8 MT/ha half of the deficit in Africa will be wiped out.

5.If African countries selling/leasing out land to foreigners insist on the investors cultivating food grains crops, Africa will become surplus in food grains.

6.If peace is brought in countries which have internal strife, food grains production in those countries will increase to the extent of removing food shortage in Africa.

From the above it is clear that it is not difficult to remove hunger from the world

India- Land and Density of Population


Excerptfrom “Simple Alternate Development Strategy” 1997

“Land and Density of Population

While in population India is the second largest, according to FAO statistics, in total area of land it is only the 7th largest… …However….. in 1991’…..India had 77% more ARABLE LAND than China, the most populous country…..It is seen from the above table that while density per hectare of arable land in India at 5.27 is higher than the world averge of 3.99 by about 32%, it is less than the Asian average of 7.51 by about 30%. Compared to more populous China,whose density is 12.39 per ha of arable land India’s density is just 32% of China.. In less poulated countries of Egypt Bangladesh,, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia Pakistan, former West Germany, UK, Italy and Netherlands, density per ha of arable land is higher than in India.Thus it is apparent that India’s density per ha of arable land is not at all high and hence reduction in population growth should not be a high priority issue for the planners at the moment. The high priority concern should be to provide employment to all able bodied ersons… However, as the land available for cultivation is limited, at some stage or the other the populaton growth has to be curtailed-if the growth continues at the present rate.But that stage will come not in 5 years or 10 years but in 50 years or 100 years i.e. when the population doubles/trebles but then, it is possible that new methods would have been evolved to increase the yield of foodgrains by 100% oe 200% or even higher…

As of now it is clear from the foregoing that India is not over populated …..If China with 93 mllion ha of arable land can feed 1.15 billion people, India with an arable land of 165 million ha should be able to feed 2.00 billion people, but the present population is less than one billion.

India should not treat the population as a liability. It is an asset which should be fully utilized. The casualness with which the authorities treat deaths due to disasters like floods, diseases, accidents can ultimately be traced to the attitude that lives of human beings are not very important……”

Though the figures have changed since 1991, the conclusion that India is not overpopulated remains correct. In fact it is supported by omythe fact that almost every sector of the economy faces shortage of labour. Of course, this is not due only to expansion of the economy but also to the fact that a sizable section of the population manage to live with working for 5-10 days a month with the free things they are getting from govenment.

Money, Printing of Currency Notes, Inflation (continued)


Excerpt from the manuscript “What Ails Indian Economy?”

“In fact, any product, commodity or service acquires value because of the demand. Today, a music system may cost about Rs.50,000. If tomorrow, people are no longer interested in music or there are other ways of listening to music, the music system loses its value. The value of any product or commodity is based on the importance people attach to it, particularly if it is not an essential item like food, clothing and shelter. …..

To understand better, what money is, it would be useful to have some background information. Direct barter system was used in the olden days. It was possible then, as the requirements of the people were limited to, may be food, clothing and shelter. It would not have been very difficult for a person, to locate….. For example in the olden days a person would have grown cereals on his land. The other person would have grown vegetables and a third person would have grown fruits etc. all in the same locality. People knew each other well and the person who wanted to exchange his cereals with vegetables would not have had any difficulty in locating the person who had vegetables to dispose of and at the same time needed cereals.

Sometimes, people had products to dispose of, but they did not need to buy anything at that time. They therefore needed to keep something in exchange for their products. This something has come to be called the money. People used to keep their money in the form of land, cattle, grains and later in gold, silver, copper etc.

In order that goods and services are disposed of and acquired without much discussions, there is need to express their values. Earlier people might have expressed the value in terms of land, grains or cattle or other domesticated animals. People would have talked of wages of a worker in terms of units (weight or volume) of grain. They would have talked of value of some area of land in terms of cattle-10 cows or 20 cows etc. But now the value of goods and services are talked of in terms of currency -rupees or pounds or dollars or euros etc.

People are willing to exchange valuable goods and services for printed small sheets of paper- currency notes, because they know that other people would accept these papers in exchange for their goods. The currency notes thus acquire value. The same is true of gold…….

 (to be continued)