The Mood of the Nation (MOTN) has given high marks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Between 40 to 50 per cent of respondents feel he is doing a good job on social issues and healthcare. This has translated into his dizzying personal popularity-nearly 33 per cent of respondents rate Prime Minister Modi the best Indian chief executive ever and one reason why the survey shows the NDA is projected to win a comfortable majority, 349 seats, if elections were held today.
But where his government seems to have hit the ball out of the park is in the railways. Fifty eight per cent of 12,178 MOTN respondents surveyed across the country feel the railways have significantly improved in the last three years.
Seen in perspective, a 58 per satisfaction level is higher than almost every other achievement of the Modi government even in its successes in the power sector, road infrastructure and social sector issues like drinking water, quality of schools, colleges and hospitals. Fifty six per cent said that the power situation had improved, 50 per cent of respondents said that the quality of schools and colleges had improved, 52 said the quality of hospitals had improved, 51 per cent noted an improvement in road quality.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu figures in the top 5 achievers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet with a 10 per cent rating. The list is topped by Finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley who has a rating of 28 per cent.
Railway officials say the quantum leap in rail sector infrastructure over the past three years have been greater than in the past thirty years-16,700 km of rail track were electrified as opposed to 19,000 km in the last thirty; 12,690 km of rail track have been sanctioned for doubling in the last three years. Only 7,192 km of track were doubled in the last 30 years. The 4 lakh crore spent on rail infrastructure in the last three years is 20 per cent of the cumulative amount (Rs 4.9 lakh crore) spent on railway infrastructure since independence. Not to mention that 32,000 bio-toilets have been fitted in trains to eliminate waste, over the past year. Only 10,000 such toilets were fitted over the last decade. There are mammoth infrastructure projects like the Dedicated Freight Corridor- over 3,300 km of rail track between Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata-which have been speeded up. But while these will take a few more years to complete and for their effect to be felt, what explains the dizzying satisfaction spike in railway services?
One factor could be the focus on improving the passenger experience. The railways have worked hard to upgrading the quality of food, bedding and cleanliness of coaches used by an estimated 22 million railway passengers each day.
Another factor could be the bolstering of complaint redressals through social media. A social media monitoring team functions out of Rail Bhavan in Delhi 24x7. All General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers have been on Twitter over the past two years. The social media cell receives over 1,000 actionable tweets and over 200 complaints on Facebook each day.Also Read