When ‘Penicillin’ was introduced in the market, doctors would be quick enough to prescribe it for most of the ailments. Now, privatisation has become the much-opted prescription for the ‘sickness’ of all sorts, suffered by Public Sector Under-takings(PSU’s)

There has been many successful practitioners of this ‘PRIVATO’PATHY (like Allopathy and Homeopathy), after the seasoned Financial Physician, Doctor Man Mohan Singh, legitimised the use of this great drug. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is one among them.

All these the doctors are experts in prescribing ‘the drug’ before diagnosing the ‘sickness’. They can predict the reasons for the sickness, say, and low productivity, inflated salary budget, outdated machinery, less demand for the product and finally accumulated losses.

Even the ‘experts committee’, if constituted, can come to the same conclusion, after spending two to three minutes. It’s hundred percent right, that those who work in PSU’s do not put their efforts to the optimum extent. This lacuna is transparent to any sensible observer. Failure to extract work to the fullest extent is purely administrative lapse, to which the successive governments are largely responsible. Whether we invite it or not market economy has come to stay in India. Profitably is its yardstick to measure the efficiency of any concern.

Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has proved to be inefficient, as per the parameters of the market economy and been incurring losses for the last few years, irrespective of its wide spread services in every nook and corner of rural Andhra Pradesh. The corporation suffered net loss in the year 1999-2000 to the extent of RS. 151.85 crores.

Passenger-occupancy ratio has drastically come down with the parallel bus services introduced with ‘hi-tech’ facilities by private people. The state government under the leadership of Naidu, has been toying with the idea of privatising the corporation off and on for the last five years. Trade unions, which have affiliations with political parties, have been expressing their apprehension towards government’s eagerness to privatise RTC.

Now their fears have loomed large, with the government’s decision to raise the charges, as a fallout of hike in petrol price. This decision will add fuel to fire and accelerate the losses. In days to come, the government may hide behind growing loss and find it the most convincing pretext for privatisation.

First published in Vaartha.com on October, 2000

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