Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Indian Railway King

Here is a link on rather longish piece on Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav http://www.american.com/archive/2009/the-indian-railway-king

Some extracts:

Under his leadership, Indian Railways has gone from bankruptcy to billions in just a few years. When Lalu presented his latest budget to Parliament on February 13, he bragged, "Hathi ko cheetah bana diya" ("I have turned an elephant into a cheetah").

Lalu mismanaged Patna terribly. So how has he managed a gargantuan state organ so well that students from Kellogg and Wharton are taking notice?

Part of the answer lies in India’s recent economic growth spurt: Lalu stood on the shoulders of an economy that never grew by less than 6 percent per year during his whole tenure as railways minister. (India’s economy has slowed considerably since the global downturn began.) With a boom like that to fuel demand, how could he fail? All he had to do was sit back and let the market propel him forward.

The other half of the explanation, though, seems to be a simple case of democracy and markets working.

3 comments:

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

Well, Krishnan, I salute any politician even for not doing anything,. Remember they can be much worse if they do something!
Anyway, I wonder whether the economy grew faster in the last 5 years because of the politicians or inspite of the politicians?

Mavin said...

Krish,

Lalu and his able Man Friday have been extremely lucky.

A dream period 2004 - 08 helped the Indian Railways the much needed break and the cash surplus.

A proper analysis will show that the superlative earnings have come from flogging the assets and higher volumes.

Major investments in rolling stock renewal and safety have not been made. In case of a prolonged downturn, we may find Railways gasping for breath again. No major structural changes have been made.

indianhomemaker said...

Sometimes not interfering, and letting some capable minds a free hand also helps :)
He allowed major changes, and I still remember being told how Lalu has converted Railway Stations into Airports :)
He had become very popular around this time.