ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘agents

IRCTC: Myth vs Reality

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http://www.irctc.co.in needs no introduction. Each one of us have spent good amount of time just gazing at computer screen for something to happen. But to no avail. All we saw were “Connection Time Outs” and excruciating delays. I have seen people venting their anger on irctc website for failing to get tickets booked using choicest of expletives.

It seems all that is wrong with Indian Railways is just irctc website. It is just the website that hampers us from getting the tickets. And if it is fixed, we would all get tickets. But is it really the case?

Friends, website is just a mirage. All it helps is giving us common people a face to lambast, to vent our anger. The real problem is, we don’t have enough trains, we don’t have enough seats. Irctc is just a portal to book tickets, the tickets that are non-existent.

If a good chunk of a population of 120cr logs in on a website, no earthly power can prevent the crashes. Still with all those login failures and time outs, we see tickets are wiped off within 5-10 mins (more so with tatkal tickets). Why/How?

Try and understand that someone is getting the tickets ultimately. Someone who wants to travel just like us. Its not that the tickets are going waste. The problem is the pie. When pie is very small, the pieces of it would be small too. Here is where touts come in. People blame the ticket agents. You know they stand in ticket line since wee hours or sometime all through the night, to get the tickets booked for their clients. Why to blame them? They just earn a living out of a traversity.

Blame lies on the successive Governments. What have they done to increase the number of trains, increase the number of seats. Not only has our population increased over the decades, the travelling junta have increased manifold. In effect per capita seats (seats/travelling person), have gone down to abysmal stats.

Not much is being done in this regard. When railway gives impression that they are fixing irctc website, they are eliminating touts/agents, it is just a cosmetic exercise to keep people calm, to assure them that something is being done. It’s just a lollypop. The real problem is demand/supply. Unless we spread out the train lines, increase number of trains, this will continue.

India has already borne the brunt of people fighting for their own share of minuscule pies over the years. If something is not done soon enough, add train journey to the list of next social wars in the country.

Written by arpitgarg

June 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Indian Economy Strong: Funda-mentally

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Last few days have witnessed regular assurances from finance ministry, RBI governor, CEO of leading Indian banks as to how India would weather the global financial storm. All the assurances had one thing in common, “The fundamentals of our economy are very strong”. What these financial fundamentals really are? How to understand them? Well, I have one approach ready for you. As they say “Cinema reflects the Society”, let’s start our search for the economic fundamentals via the fundamentals of Indian cinema.

“Thakur, jaan pyaari hai toh Tijori ki chabiyaan nikaal”. Who doesn’t remember this legendary line? Immortalized by Thakurs ranging from Kanhaiyyalal to Madanlal and Dacoits cum Robinhoods ranging from Raj Kumar to Sunil Dutt. Another such scene is where the greedy Thakur opens his Tijori to lend money to the poor Kisaan at high interest rate. Here the most important fundamental is Tijori. Our society too cherished this personal Tijori. Down the years, the Tijori got replaced by a bank locker for quite a few. Barring the recent trends, we are not known to be ardent investors. We do save money but most of us do not invest in other than the popular LIC policies. We all have such Tijori’s which keep our money safe and sound if not reap returns. Before you point out the decreasing worth owing to inflation, keep in mind that we usually keep our savings as gold, silver etc. But the Tijori persists.

“Kaam ho jaiyega Seth. Paisa mere Swiss bank account mein pahunch jaana chaiye”. This corruption and surplus black money has helped avert the mortgage crisis in India. Consider a house with market value of 1crore. Usually one pays 50lac in cash and 50lac via cheque. This ratio may vary from 40:60 to 45:55 or vice versa. The cash is what is usually called number 2 ka paisa. For the rest 50lac, we apply for a loan. Even if the property rates fall to say 80lac (from 1cr initially), unlike Americans we don’t forego our property to the bank. After all the current market rate is still greater than the loan due. So the black money in property business has not let mortgage crises come to India in the way it has rattled US. (for more read http://www.swaminomics.org/articles/20080330.htm)

“Madam hum ICUC bank se aaye hain. Aap loan chuka dijiye warna hum bahut kameeney log hain”. This dialogue delivered with pure sincerity in the movie “One Two Three”, gives us clear insight as to the low default rate in India. The loan is distributed via agents and settled via another set of agents, while the bank sits pretty. Should the leading banks go the legal way, it would take them at least 20 years to settle. Agree or not, this so called extortion has kept the so called fundamentals of our economy sound.

“Bhaisahab yeh Mangal-Sutra girvi rakh leejiye”. Nirupa Roy in need of money for the treatment of her sick son. Here mangalsutra is the key. Most of the Indian families have household jewellery. Ask your mother for confirmation. Regardless of the bank balance, there have to be sufficient diamond/gold/silver ornaments to be worn at various ceremonies. This domestic wealth is the one which has helped many a family sail through the dark times.

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