Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 20 November 2023

Why the passenger matters

News Except:

Recently, in the festive season of Diwali, Chath puja and the Cricket World Cup 2023, we were pictured with the rising aura of Indian railways on one side. 

  • Another side of the picture presented a different story, the story of migrant workers who were struggling to get into overcrowded compartments and a nightmarish journey lasting dozens of hours with nowhere to sleep.

Key Issues: 

  • Overcrowding during Festive Seasons: The recent struggle of people trying to get home during Diwali and Chhath Puja revealed significant overcrowding and discomfort in train travel, highlighting a failure in managing the surge in demand.
  • Insufficient Provisioning: Despite claims of additional trains and accommodations by the Railways, the arrangements were insufficient or misdirected, indicating a systemic issue in capacity planning and allocation.
  • Financial Allocation, Accountability and Implementation: The government has displayed commitment by allocating substantial funds for capital expenditure, particularly for the transport sector and Indian Railways. However, the efficient utilisation and allocation of these funds need scrutiny.
  • Passenger Service Priorities: The Indian Railways has traditionally emphasised affordable fares over passenger comfort. While improvements have been made, the overall passenger experience remains below par, especially for unreserved travellers.
  • Development Narrative: The lack of emphasis on making long-distance travel convenient and appealing for lower-income groups reflects a broader gap in the country's development narrative, especially regarding internal migration and supporting labour mobility.
  • Support for Migrants: There's a need for policies supporting easier migration for labourers and ensuring accessible transportation for their travel needs.
  • Reframing Development Narratives: There is a need to reorientate India's development narrative, catering to the needs and experiences of its people, mainly migrants. India can achieve more inclusive and effective development by prioritising their experiences and addressing their challenges, such as in transportation, housing, and social benefits.


There is a need for a comprehensive approach that addresses immediate railway infrastructure issues and delves deeper into the broader societal and policy frameworks that affect the lives of migrants and other marginalised groups.

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