ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Railways : When the Axe Falls


That the railways constitute the lifeline of the Indian economy     should not be open to dispute. It is therefore extremely important for sustaining the economy that the railways should not only be run efficiently, but also that their services keep growing so that the economic activities in the country do not get handicapped for want of adequate carrying capacity. This is particularly crucial for freight traffic. During the colonial phase, the British had an added reason to keep the railways functioning efficiently because the railways met the security requirements in regard to the movement of troops and their effects. That was possibly the reason for passenger transport also to receive some importance in the development of Indian railways by the British. This was also perhaps the main reason why the practice of presenting a separate railway budget dates back to the British times.

Now the railways have to meet the requirements of a much larger economy in regard to both freight and passenger traffic, even though the railway network is supplemented by an extensive road transport network. The two networks largely complement each other although there is, as everywhere, some amount of competition also between the two. Fundamentally, the two transport networks have to be so developed as to complement each other, providing transport service wherever one network can do so more efficiently than the other network.

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