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Functioning like stock market, how dynamic booking system 'adversely' impacts Indians

By Sudhansu R Das 

Privatization is like riding a tiger. If a leader is not strong enough to tame the tiger, the beast will roam around killing and wounding people at will. The tiger with its enormous strength controls the leaders, twists policies and projects in his favor. Ultimately, the tiger devours the leader the way a cat plays with the mouse before eating it. 
A physically and intellectually strong leader equipped with grass root level knowledge and wisdom can tame the tiger and use its energy for nation building. A capable leader can ride a tiger to glory and save people’s time, money and energy to enhance their productivity for inclusive growth and prosperity.
On 19th December 2022, the cost of ticket in an air conditioned bus from Pune to Hyderabad rose to Rs 5,000 two days before the journey under the dynamic booking system which functions like stock market. The cost of bus tickets from Hyderabad to big Indian cities reaches between Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000; the cost of bus travel is higher than the cost of Air travel which has never happened ten years back. 
 On the same day all the train tickets from Pune to Hyderabad were booked and the only option left was to book Tatkal train tickets. On 11th December 2022, the Air ticket from Bhubaneswar to Hyderabad hovered around Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 depending on the flight time in a day and there was no ticket available in trains except Tatkal tickets. 
The availability of Tatkal tickets is like catching a falling star which disappears with a twinkle. Tatkal tickets get booked within a few seconds after the Railway booking website opens. The rail and flight booking websites are too crowded with Ads; many of the Ads are misleading.
The cost of travel in India has increased along with anxiety and uncertainties of people which adversely affect the economy and productivity of the majority of Indians. The demand for products should not be created through mischief and manipulation to make a few players rich while making the majority of the respectable Indian citizens suffer quietly. 
 The government should develop a state of the art monitoring mechanism to ensure that the money, anxiety and the productivity hours of the respectable Indian citizen is saved because it is the majority of the Indians who contribute relentlessly to sustain the economic growth; they absorb the shock from the recession, share the cost of loss due to bank frauds, carries the burden of the social sector and pay a maze of taxes.
Over the years, the services in many trains have visibly deteriorated. Stinking toilets, partially working flush and broken tap and handles are the regular scenes not only in sleeper class but in AC coaches of many trains. The food served in trains and in the stations is not properly checked for its quality. 
 The AC chair car coach of the Inter City train from Bhubaneswar to Visakhapatnam which was scheduled on 14th December 2022 had stinking and unclean toilets. The TT refused to give the complaint register but promised to get the toilets clean in the next station; it was done after a few stations. 
 Similarly, the Visakhapatnam-Kacheguda superfast express had no power 15 minutes before the departure time on 14th December 2022 due to some technical flaw. A well regulated, affordable and quick transportation network is key to inclusive growth.The Indian Railways instead of beautifying the platforms should focus on improving the basic necessities for the passengers; food quality, cleanliness, availability of tickets, affordability and comfort etc. 
 The dynamic booking system which increases the cost of tickets helps the rich people who can afford to pay; the higher middle class manage to pay and the middle class, the lower middle class and the poor people pay through the nose if they want to travel in an emergency. This system should be scrapped as it functions like a black market to erode people’s hard earned surplus income.
The railway minister and the top officials should travel by train during their official tours without revealing their identities. They should book their own tickets online to experience the difficulties faced by the respectable common Indian citizens. No official tour in flight should be allowed to railway officials.  
This is the first step to improve the rail governance in India which will increase the productivity hours of millions of people and save money worth thousands of crores of rupees. If the railway minister and his officials eat the food served in trains and on platforms with other respectable Indian citizens, they will understand today's problems. This will be an act of true and visible patriotism.
In the mythology, the path of good governance was shown to Indians by Lord Ram who travelled on foot, lived with villagers and forest dwellers for 14 years. He experienced the pain, anxiety, hope and aspiration of his subjects and established Ram Rajya which was the embodiment of good governance.
First hand information will always improve the services in the Indian Railway. Like rail service the quality of services in many Airports has also deteriorated. One will be appalled to see the deterioration in maintenance of wash rooms in the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. The wash room was stinking with a water logged floor; the trash from the tray was spilling out; waste paper and tea glasses were found in different corners. 
 In order to stem the rot, the officials of the Ministry of Aviation should monitor the ground level situation in the guise of ordinary passengers and give the message that the government is tough and will not tolerate any compromise on quality, hospitality and the services. They should manage the economy of scale better. There should be fear of punishment for indiscipline and laxity. Affordable cost, comfort and duration of travel always contribute to economic growth.
The realty sector gives 30 to 40 percent easy revenue to the state governments across the country. But, the errant urban sector growth destroys water bodies, creates pothole-filled roads, increases the water cost, pollutes air, depletes tree cover and increases the cost of the basic amenities like food, education, health and housing etc. All these things erode people’s surplus income which could be utilized for building sustainable economic assets for people. Infrastructures like roads, bridges, fly over, schools, colleges and hospitals are needed but too much of it serves little purpose because we can’t save cities with infrastructure unless we create employment opportunities in villages. 
 India has a huge population and it produces one Australian population every year; we can’t let all these people work in a few sectors like manufacturing, services and IT in urban areas; many other vibrant economic sectors in India need attention to grow. 
Political economists say GDP growth benefit will address poverty and unemployment; it will improve the living condition of people and provide the basic need to people. But, when will it happen?

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