Letters to the editor

By: | Published: April 21, 2015 12:20 AM

Open railways to competition

Open railways to competition
This is reference to the column “Introducing competition in Railways” (April 20). Indian Railways is, no doubt, one of the largest railway networks in the world and has provided a large number of services to all categories of people, including freight services to support the economy. But as the saying goes, change is the only constant—and Indian Railways also needs to change with the times, and that is possible only with competition. A long time ago, Air India was a monopoly player and passengers had to manage with inferior services at higher costs. The government was sceptical of introducing private players. But competition has improved services and efficiency with time and today, even the common man can afford air travel. Although it will not be fair to compare air travel with travel by rail, with latest technology there is a lot of scope to accommodate private services to run parallely using the existing infrastructure. The government should act swiftly and introduce world-class services for those who want it and can afford it. I am sure it will be a win-win situation for all.
Krishan Kandhari

Convertibility ahead?
The RBI Governor has expressed the hope that India will get to full convertibility “in a short numbers of years”, while minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha has stated that capital account convertibility is important for India to find a place among the top three or four global economies. Capital Account Convertibility (CAC) is the freedom to convert local financial assets into foreign financial assets at market-determined exchange rates. The test of a strong rupee is not so much on its exchange rate parity with the dollar as the willingness of external investors holding on to it for long periods. High levels of inflation are a great disincentive to this.  Does the present state of our economy and its foreseeable trend up to, say, 2020, permit us to even consider CAC? The Indian economy needs to grow much larger to be able to provide a heat-sink to absorb and quench monetary heat-ups that would often come unannounced, in the wake of full convertibility.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad

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