Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lame duck

I was surprised that in the Railway Budget yesterday, the honourable minister chose to raise passenger fares. This happened after a gap of 8 years. The quantum of the fare hikes was 18-30%. I am sure fuel, wage and maintenance costs in the past 8 years have gone up more like 100%.

Even with the revised fares, the Indian Railways will lose money for each passenger that travels. So far, they have been subsidizing this by hiking freight rates. However, now things have come to such a pass that any freight hikes will make road transport more viable for freight. This is a travesty, since rail transport for bulk goods is much more efficient, eco-friendly and quicker than road transport.

The resultant hullabaloo was a sight to behold. Mamata didi, that venerable and wise lady, threw a tantrum and decided to chuck out the poor fellow who had dared protect the Railways from bankruptcy. She had done her best to run the Railways to the ground when she was the Railways Minister, and felt cheated that her successor was actually trying to improve safety and modernity of the institution.

It makes me think that there is no future for economic growth in India. Everything is viewed from the prism of entitlement. All is well as long as everyone is equally poor and equally deprived. The current government believes in the dictum: Don't teach a hungry man how to fish. Instead, announce a huge free fish distribution program, where the distributor is a crocodile who sells all the fish he cannot eat in the black market and pays for the government's next election campaign. The hungry man buys the stale fish in the black market and votes for the government because he thinks he is relatively better off since everyone is getting stale fish from the black market, since fresh fish is in short supply. The crocodile supports the economies of Switzerland and France by propping up the banking systems / luxury goods industries in those countries.

And so life moves on in this wonderful country.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Illegitimi non carborundum

I came across this phrase while looking through a book of Latin phrases. Literally translated, it means 'Don't let the bastards grind you down' :-) though I am told that the phrase is really not Latin, but a tongue-in-cheek remark invented by a Brit soldier during WWII.

Whatever the origin, I fell in love with the phrase immediately, and have made it my status message on gmail. Carborundum, as some of us would remember, is another name for SiC a.k.a silicon carbide, which is the stuff that abrasives are made of.

Whenever I am pensive, feeling low or banal, I look at this phrase and perk up immediately. It inspires me to believe and hatch my next plan for world conquest :-) Ha Ha Ha