I am sure a lot of you have no Idea who Laloo or 'Lalu Prasad Yadav' is. He was long term chief minister of Bihar state in India is well known for corruption and scandals (as are many other politicians in India). In 2004 he became the Railways Minister of India.
Indian Railways is a very sensitive topic. As much as people like to complain about it, its makes everyone proud. Its one of the biggest railway network in the world, employs over 1.5 million people and the total distance covered by the trains is 3.5 times the distance to moon.
In 2001 an expert declared that Railways will be bankrupt by 2015 unless privatised. It was making huge losses and was expected to make US$15.4 billion loss by 2015. Lalu turned it around in 2-3 years and now its made profit of U$2.47 billion.
To turn this huge organisation from loss making to profit making he followed some simple logic.
- Reduce the fares instead of increasing them and the occupancy will improve
- Increase the freight loading hours from 10 hours to 24 hours daily
- Make everything simple for ordinarly people to follow including reservations
- Once the basics are working keep improving the infrastructure and make further cost reductions
- They provide big subsidy for the handsets but they think this gives them right to charge whatever they wish.
- The tariff's are still not competetive for international calls and while roaming abroad. A simple call making and receiving for a UK mobile on roaming to US can be charged to £1.20 per min. Compare this to making it free using Skype. This puts off so many people in calling home when abroad and receiving calls on their mobiles. If its cheaper more and more people will make and receive calls when abroad.
- Using data abroad could be like commiting suicide.
- There are couple of networks who give huge student discounts but with them text messages can take upto 12 hours to be delivered.
- Some networks have customer service open for limited hours and they charge calling the number even with the same network mobile.