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Railway ministry: 8 achievements that really aren’t

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New Delhi: During the one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s term, the ministry of railways has claimed several “new beginnings” and “key reforms”. Among its achievements: More rail track (1,375 km) electrified in one year than ever before; earnings increased 12 percent; more bio-toilets installed; and a feasibility report received from Japan for the Mumbai-Ahmadabad bullet train during 2014-15. Pune_Karjat_passenger_Indian_Railways

Fact Checker took a look at the claims and the reality.

  • Twelve percent rise in earnings due to “key reforms”: Earnings lower than previous two years.

Claim: An increase of 12.2 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 due to “key reforms in railways.

Reality: The 12 percent increase in earnings during 2014-15 compared with 2013-14 is lower than the 19 percent and 12.9 percent respectively, during each of the previous two financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14.

  • Record electrification of rail track: It happens every year

Claim: 1,375 km of railway electrification completed during 2014-15, termed best-ever for Indian Railways.

Reality: Electrification data reveal such records are set every year. The increase in electrification between 2013-2014 and 2014-15 in terms of “route kilometers” is the least when compared to consecutive years over the past eight years (barring 2010-11).

  • Bio-toilets, a key achievement: Yes, since 2009

Claim: Bio-toilets have been stated as key achievements by railways for 2014-15.

Reality: Bio-toilets, which treat human waste instead of letting it on to the tracks, were first installed in 2009: 11,777 bio-toilets have been installed in 4,356 passenger coaches till June 30, 2014.

  • Study Done For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train: Series of such studies over 13 years

Claim: Feasibility report from Japan on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.

Reality: Parliament data show a series of feasibility (or prefeasibility) studies between 2002 and 2015.

  • Helpline is launched: It was ready for launch before UPA quit

Claim: Launching of a security helpline for passengers.

Reality: The plan was first approved for 2010-11 and just before the previous government finished its term, the ground work, including finalising the nodal railway zone (Northern Railway), executing agency, budget (Rs 5.2 crore) and signing an agreement with the telecom ministry, had been done.

  • 108 Adarsh (ideal) stations: Routine since 2009

Claim: Passenger facilities improved at 108 stations under the Adarsh-stations scheme.

Reality: This is a routine affair, since the Adarsh-stations scheme kicked off in 2009 (to provide drinking water, toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories, especially for female passengers, better signage).

  • Meghalaya gets a rail line: Work has been on for 19 years

Claim: Lumding-Silchar broad gauge section inaugurated, Meghalaya comes on the rail map.

Reality: Gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar section started in 1996-97. There was often no money to continue the line or law-and-order problems delayed work. The target date was extended several times over the past few years.

  • World Bank Loan for Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor: Approved by the previous government

Claim: Agreement signed for $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for the Eastern Dedicated Freight (EDF) corridor.

Reality: The $1.1-billion loan from the World Bank for EDF corridor-II was approved on April 22, 2014, before Modi’s term began.

By Manoj K

(IANS)

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The Institution Of Governors to Play Crucial Role: Modi

Governors could leverage their experience in different walks of life

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The Institution Of Governors to Play Crucial Role: Modi
The Institution Of Governors to Play Crucial Role: Modi, flickr

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday the Governors had a crucial role to play within the constitutional framework and they could ensure better implementation of the central schemes for the benefit of a larger section of the population.

Addressing the opening session of the 49th Conference of Governors at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Modi said the Governors could leverage their experience in different walks of life to ensure people get the maximum benefit of various central development schemes and initiatives.

The institution of Governor had a “pivotal role to play within the federal structure and Constitutional framework of our country”, he said.

The Prime Minister said Governors of states with significant tribal population can help in ensuring financial inclusion of the tribal communities as well as in facilitating various government initiatives in fields such as education, sports and others to reach them.

This was in consonance with the message given by President Ram Nath Kovind earlier who asked the Governors to use their position in bringing about changes in the lives of those marginalised and enhancing higher education standards in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The Prime Minister mentioned some key themes of development such as the National Nutrition Mission, electrification of villages and development parameters in the aspirational districts. He suggested that Governors could visit a few recently electrified villages to witness first-hand the benefits of electrification.

Noting that the Governors were also the Chancellors of state universities, he said they could help ensure that admissions, appointments, examinations and convocations were on time.

He said that International Yoga Day on June 21 could be utilized as an opportunity to generate greater awareness about yoga among the youth and the universities could also become the focal point for the celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary.

Modi suggested that planning for the 50th Governors’ Conference next year should begin immediately. This effort should focus on making this annual event even more productive.

Earlier, in his inaugural address at the Conference, Kovind observed that the Governor was “a mentor and guide to the state and an important link in the federal structure”.

“As per the Constitution, the post of Governor has an exalted place in the scheme of governance. The Governor is a mentor and guide to the state and an important link in the federal structure.

“The people of the state view the office of the Governor and the Raj Bhavan as a fount of ideals and values,” he told the Governors and Lt Governors.

He said the Governors could help in shaping the roadmap for the betterment of lives of the citizens who have not benefited “as much as expected from our development journey”.

The central focus for this year’s conference is to sensitise the attending state heads to the programmes being implemented for citizens who have been left behind in the country’s developmental journey.

The two-day meet will discuss important issues including flagship programmes, internal security, higher education, skill development, steps taken on the report of Committee of Governors set up during the 48th Conference and commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

It will also discuss schemes being run in the 115 aspirational districts across the country to help Governors better understand and enable them to guide the stakeholders in the welfare schemes for the poor, women, Dalits and tribals, farmers and young people, said Kovind.

“There are approximately 100 million people in our country who belong to the Scheduled Tribes. A majority of this population lives in regions that are covered under the Constitution’s Fifth and Sixth Schedule,” he said about the people who need support.

Also read: Modi visits Malaysian Prime minister

Apart from the Governors and Lt Governors of all states and Union Territories, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, various Union Ministers besides the NITI Aayog CEO and other senior officials were also at the meet. (IANS)