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GD AT URPERCENTILE : “INDIAN RAILWAYS SHOULD BE OPEN TO MULTIPLE PLAYERS"

Sucheta Sinharay and Ami clears this GD.

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Gururaj Ligade: Hello, My name is Gururaj. I am a B.E mech graduate. I have got a call from ICFAI and expecting calls from Symbiosis.

Sucheta Sinharay: Hello, My name is sucheta sinharoy. I had appeared for CAT, MAT and SNAP this year. I have gotten calls from Christ College, Alliance Business Academy. I am B.Sc. graduate in Microbiology..

Ashish Jagani:  I m Ashish. Done engineering. Call from NM

Senthil: Hi, I am Senthil, M.Sc, Chennai

Ami: Ami, B.E. I.T. Gujarat

Parag: I am doing B.Tech from IIT Roorkee

www.UrPercentile.com: The Topic of the GD is:  “Indian Railways Should Be Open to Multiple Players.”

Ashish Jagani: First we have to look at pros n cons of what happens if we open Railways to multiple players’ .First, it breaks government monopoly. That’s ok. But then we lose the centralized system of signaling administrative and other crucial systems which eventually may lead to chaos.

Senthil: Hello friends, the topic here describes about Indian Railways one of biggest in Asia to be open for all kind of markets. Rather to be contract to only government tenders or should be tendered to big firms to maintain. So it would help the people to get served better.

Sucheta Sinharay: Indian Railways are the single largest employer in the country but for years it had the distinction of being a loss making body. Now with the railway minister  after having taken the mantle of the Railway ministry has completely turned the Railways around and now it is not only a profit making body but serving as business model for many B-schools.

Gururaj Ligade: As we know that Indian Railways is the single largest Railways operating under a single administration, and as we all know the way it is being looked after. I think it will be a good move to bring in private partnership to carry out its huge operations.

Ami: Well, I do agree that it should be open to multiple players specially the emperors of Private Sectors. Today all the Transportation i.e., Airlines, Buses have been better services by the Private sectors. Why not Railways too?

Ashish Jagani: Senth, even if we give Railways to big firms we cant guarantee that it will be served better Infact current Railway minister  is currently doing a pretty decent job.
 
Parag: After being nationalized in 1951, Railways has been under the government amibt. had it been open to multiple players the profits that we are now earning could have been reaped already.

Sucheta Sinharay: So the question being asked is very much of relevance in that context. Should we stick to the Railways being a PSU or bring in multiple players. I am of the view that now that Railways has done a turn around it might not be a bad idea to open it up to private players.

Sucheta Sinharay: However just privatization is not the issue. One must keep in mind whether the handover to private companies will at all be beneficial to the Railways.

Ami: Yes, I agree Ashish, but then think abt it from a different point of view, If government , can create miracles to it, just think what a well organized with an active team of leaders can do to it. It would just get better and better,

Ashish Jagani: The only problem one faces in privatization of Railways is that it has to work only on rails and it requires a precise centralized system to handle it. If its open for multiple players it may lead to chaos .

Senthil: Already IR has been divided into geographical regions like southern Railways etc to focus on particular area better and tendering it in some parts we do not loose anything. It help us like developing of airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The same could be done with Railways

Parag: Opening IR to multiple players will help in making it a better working body , in terms of profits because that is what drives the private players.

Ami: No, in fact, if it can’t get better then also there would not be any kind of chaos as such because Railways would continue to profit and the people would be served better

Sucheta Sinharay: Allowing multiple players into the Railways does not mean to allow indiscriminate entry. It should be expected of the interested party to display a plan that would be feasible and beneficial for the Railway services.

Parag: Railways is a service which affects all of us and so even if private players are allowed, there has to be certain control over the activities so that the general public doesn’t suffer.

Ami: Exactly, I agree with Senth, he says what I said earlier here that when other means of transportation are being privatized or being undertaken by the other conglomerates then why not the same growth can Railways face?

Senthil: we have already an example: the Konkan Railways has been contracted to L&T and it is largest one passing through mountains. The Delhi underground metro is also an example. In similar fashion we can privatize partially

Gururaj Ligade: Well, I disagree to the point made that it may lead to chaos because privatization can reduce the immense burden the Railways is facing by incorporating some new innovative supply chain methods.

Ami: and no one is also denying the scope of a good partnership with the Government that can also be a good deal as far as the doubts regarding the Railways going into other hands is concerned

Parag: If the area is not lucrative for the companies they would make it even more difficult for the public

Sucheta Sinharay: Private ownership is not always the only solution. The Railways are an essential mode of transportation utilized by crores of Indian. Also it is not like that the Railways is not making changes under governmental control. Only today has the Railways signed a Moue with Hindustan petroleum to offer e-ticketing to its customers. What is need is not privatization but maybe public-private cooperation.

Parag: The privatiisation could be done partially but only in areas that are sufficiently lucrative for companies to work in

Ami: When any private sector is taking up such a big responsibility, I don't think one should think of such silly points like area, region and all .
Senthil: We have seen from previous experiences that government Institutions performing better when privatized. The biggest example is BSNL. Moreover, the topic is to discuss about partial privatization. Do we all agree about partial privatization?

Parag: I know it is a big responsibility but the companies won’t find the motive to indulge if the profits won’t be good

Gururaj Ligade: The major tangible benefit of the privatization is the government interference is going to be reduced and any new crucial deals and decisions and new plans can be executed very fast.

Sucheta Sinharay: I think we have developed a mindset that all private enterprises are good and all public enterprises bad. What needs to be addressed is the system of management and the bureaucracy. If these can function efficiently under govt. control why opt for private players.

Ami: In fact, if big players from different and strong economic backgrounds take this in their hands, the services would be just better in terms of times of arrival and departure of trains, the food that the passengers get inside or outside on the station, other facilities.

Parag: But there are also cases of privatized companies providing biased service and vandalizing.

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Sucheta Sinharay: Admitted. But for that should the Railways be handed over to private players. These activities can be accommodated under the ambit of a PSU by means of MOU’s

Ami: Well, we all are seeing it now, that how better the services are being made today but look at the speed of improvisation, how much time it is taking to make it just 10% better from what it was till yesterday, before Laloo Yadav came into it.

Parag: We have long seen what the government and the psu's have done

Senthil: The issue is some parts of Railways being maintained by private organization like maintenance of software done by some big software firm. This is what our Railway minister  is doing.

Sucheta Sinharay: The Railways have on their own accord introduced online booking. Many stations have also given property on rent to shopkeepers and kiosk owners that sell food, magazines, coffee etc.

Ami: And if you all who are supporting the Government efforts for Indian Railways just because of what current railway minister  has done it in the past few months, then who is assuring that the minister  is going to be in Power and on Position for next how many years? What after that? Someone else comes and the situation would be again the similar, why not it is in fact A VITAL POINT, PARAG

Gururaj Ligade: I disagree with Suchita that the Railways can perform better under the present bureaucracy. I think in the last 2 to 3 decades we have seen how the Railways has performed under the government. Being one of the largest networks we have making peanuts out of it.  By binging in private players I think the operations can be performed with much more ease..

Sucheta Sinharay: To be sure government  has shown the way and once shown the way becomes easier to follow. But the question here is would opening it to private players help the fortunes.

Senthil: Private firms are to be contracted for some time like 1 or 2 years. Only on their performance they get their contract extended

Parag: Well , the work gets shifted to the place where it could be done the best way . So if railway minister can outsource it to some software companies that can do it well so be it.

Ami: Well Suchita for how many years you would follow the same path? This is the time where people are thinking of to make it to the moon, and you just don’t want to think about future and want to stick to same PATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Parag: senth i agree with you, a commitment cant be made to repent later

Sucheta Sinharay: What I meant was that for years we thought that the government would never be able to make a profit in the industries it runs and here we have been proven wrong.  What was required was policy changes and look what policy changes did.

Gururaj Ligade: Well Suchita, it is the same railway minister who has initiated the introduction of private partners in the container operations of the railways..

Ami: I think all who are supporting the Government attempts are praising it for what it has done for other sectors and not for Railways, you just want to stick to railway minister's efforts and don’t want to think beyond it.

Sucheta Sinharay: I am not against private enterprises entering the Railway services, what i am saying is lets not hand it all to the private players just because we have no faith in the working of the government enterprises.

Ami: well, definitely this is the high time we should think of the other strong players willing to take this up for betterment because if the Private sectors come forward, it would leave a great impact and assurity on the people who are quite impressed with what Private companies in various sectors have done until now. What say? Do I need to give any examples at all that what miracles Privatization has done in various sectors until now?

Gururaj Ligade: By privatizing Railways and increasing its efficiency we may bring down the load on the other means of transport which are under attrition.

www.UrPercentile.com: Request everyone to give a concluding statement.

Senthil: The GD is very silent today. The topic is about what is today followed by the government and Suchita disagrees with it, we have seen government firms performing low for past years. Moreover the private firms will do the work competitively so that they could stand in market. I too agree that partial privatization with government interference of control is best thing for the problem.

Parag: I would like to see that the Railways do open for the private players because they would provide better service and more profits. But there should be a control from the government side so that the public doesn't suffer ultimately.

Sucheta Sinharay: The Railways are a important means of transport and what is the guarantee that once private players do enter the market the services will improve. Has that happened in the case of aviation which has numerous low cost carriers which as made flying possible but tell me how many passengers of the low cost carriers are satisfied. Private players should be allowed a stake in Railway if they can lead to betterment of Railway services.

Ami: I firmly believe that multiple other players can and should play a vital role for the growth and betterment of Indian Railways.

Gururaj Ligade: Concluding the GD, I would like to say that by privatizing the railways and bring in private players we may increase the revenues for the railways so that we can find a better infrastructure for its future operations.

Comments by Urpercentile Subscribers:

Aniket Narula : I think that railways privatization wont be the best idea at all!!! coz-
1.Private players look mostly after their profits and this could lead to improper handling of the railways coz of the railways i shanded to one corporate then it will be its monoply.
2. railways are the ones which hire a lot of population. privatization could lead to downsizing of the railways and cutting of various perks which the railway officials have and a lot of hue and cry.
Although privatization may be good on the accounts that some of the part is privatized like the software or for that matter railways have the largest space available after the defense so i guess the space should be leased out to players for retail stuff!!

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