[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Indian minister quits over fare hike
Railway minister resigns after coming under fire from his own party for his proposal to increase passenger fares.
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2012 06:27
 Trivedi insisted the hike in fares was needed to better safety [Reuters]

India's railway minister has resigned after he raised fares on the country's vast but neglected railway network.

Dinesh Trivedi's resignation and the expected rollback of the fare hike, follow a pattern in recent months of India's leaders announcing economic reforms but, without being able enforce it.

Trivedi announced the first increase in passenger fares in eight years on Wednesday, a move aimed at shoring up a railway network whose dysfunction is seen to weigh down the country's economy.

India's infrastructure sliding off the rails [Al Jazeera] 

The news was positively received by investors but prompted a furious response from Trivedi's own party, a powerful regional ally of the ruling Congress party, that has stood in the way of economic reform in the past.

Explaining his decision to resign he defended his decision to increase the fares.

"I'm a loyal soldier of the party," Trivedi said. "I'm worried about (passenger) safety. I did what I did because of the safety."

Still reeling from defeat in regional elections last month, the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is currently seeking to pass its 2012-13 budget in parliament but is under pressure of his coalition partner, Mamata Banerjee.

If Banerjee's Trinamool Congress does not support the budget and withdraws from the ruling coalition, the government of Asia's third largest economy would face a no-confidence motion and would have to look to other parties to maintain the majority in parliament.

In the unlikely scenario that Congress fails to prove it had a majority, a snap general election would be called, two years before the government's term is due to end in 2014.

If the prime minister agrees to a rollback of the fare hike, it would feed criticism that his government - already reeling from graft scandals - is unable to implement policies needed to lift economic growth, which has slowed to its lowest in nearly three years.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list