Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Indian Railways in Crisis

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Economy

Revision Notes

  • Deadly Train Accidents:

    • Since 1995, India has witnessed 7 major train accidents.
    • 5 of these accidents resulted in over 200 fatalities.
    • The deadliest crash (Firozabad, 1995) claimed 358 lives.
    • A recent collision in Odisha (Balasore, 2023) killed 287 people.
    • These 7 incidents alone resulted in over 1,600 deaths.
  • Stagnant Performance:

    • Passenger traffic declined from 995 billion pass-km (2014-15) to 914 billion pass-km (2019-20).
    • Freight traffic stagnated between 682 and 739 billion net tonne-km (2014-15 to 2019-20).
    • Recent traffic figures (post 2019-20) haven’t been made public by the Railways.
  • Losing Market Share:

    • Indian Railways has consistently lost market share in passenger and freight sectors since 2010-12.
    • Air and road transportation have seen steady growth (6-12% annually) compared to stagnant rail traffic.
  • Potential Future:

    • Continued decline could relegate Indian Railways to a secondary role, primarily handling heavy freight and slow passenger trains.
    • This scenario resembles rail systems in some developed countries like the US, Canada, and Australia, which have lower population densities.

CAG Report on Indian Railways Performance (2019-20)

Speed and Punctuality:

  • Average speed of mail and express trains remained stagnant at 50-51 kmph between 2014-2019.
  • This falls short of “Mission Raftar’s” target of 75 kmph average speed.
  • Average speed of freight trains declined slightly.
  • This is despite acquiring technology 20 years ago to increase operational speeds.

Railway Safety:

  • Some reduction in accidents, mainly due to manning unmanned crossings.
  • Derailments and collisions show little improvement.
  • High rate of asset failures, especially signal failures and rail fractures, raises safety concerns.
  • Recent Balasore accident attributed to signal failure.

Underlying Causes of Poor Performance:

  • High asset failure rate.
  • Numerous speed and capacity bottlenecks in the existing network.

Misplaced Priorities:

  • Expensive projects with questionable financial viability:
    • Standalone bullet train lines (standard gauge) incompatible with existing network (broad gauge).
    • Dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) for heavier, longer trains.
  • Construction of first bullet train line began in 2017.
  • DFC construction started in 2012.
  • Introduction of non-high-speed Vande Bharat trains (focus on luxury over speed).


  • West Bengal train accident exposes misplaced priorities in Indian Railways.
  • Speed, punctuality, and safety remain critical concerns.




Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Challenges for New Indian Government

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Polity

Revision Notes

  1. The Return of Great Power Rivalry

  • Cold War ended, India had space for independent engagement with all major powers.
  • “Strategic Autonomy” or “Multi-alignment” may not work in a bipolar world (US vs. China/Russia).
  • Limited space for India to maneuver due to geography (China as neighbor).
  • India needs to prioritize national interests over idealism and make “cold calculations” when choosing sides.
  1. Geopolitical Imperatives Demand Economic Reforms

  • India must adapt to the impact of geopolitics on the global economy.
  • Slogans like “trusted geographies” and “freer trade” need concrete action plans.
  • Concerns exist about the new government’s capacity for economic reform.
  • Dispelling fears about India’s reform potential is crucial.
  1. Technology Development Shapes Geopolitics

  • Technological revolution is a core aspect of great power competition.
  • India has an opportunity for accelerated advanced technological development.
  • Modernization of India’s S&T sector (dominated by state monopolies) is essential.
  • The initiative on critical and emerging technologies (iCET) with the US is a positive step.
  1. Adapting to New Regional Dynamics

  • Rise of new regions like the Indo-Pacific demands adjustments.
  • India should invest more in Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East.
  • The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) is an example of new opportunities.
  • “Old mental maps” that separated these regions need to be revised.
  1. Toning Down Expansive Rhetoric

  • India’s rise is undeniable, but challenges remain.
  • High GDP doesn’t negate low per capita income and domestic inequality.
  • India’s global influence should focus on domestic prosperity and equity.


  • India’s newfound self-assurance is welcome, but overreach must be avoided.
  • Underestimating challenges can lead to “geopolitical hubris” and costly policy mistakes.


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