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Topic: Restructuring Urban Transportation in India Speaker: Dr. S. Sriraman -November 11

About the resource person – Dr. S.Sriraman  –  Dr.Sriraman is presently Walchand Hirachand professor of Transport Economics, at the department of an Economics University of Mumbai, and has been actively involved in teaching transportation economics, microeconomics, industrial economics, quantitative economics to postgraduate students. Besides teaching, he has a number of research projects to his credit in the field of transportation for central and state governments. He did his Bachelors of Arts in Economics from Loyola College, Madras University, Masters of Arts in Economics from Delhi School of Economics and completed his in Transport Systems from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has published nearly fifty papers professional journals and numerous articles for business weeklies and dailies. He visited the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, USA as a Ford foundation fellow in 1990-91, the University of Ulster, Jordanstown as a British Council fellow in 1997 and is currently visiting a professor at TERI University.

About the talk – The talk on “Restructuring Urban Transportation in India” by Dr. Sriraman was quite informative and interesting. He discussed at length the various challenges and opportunities that Indian cities face today in terms of transport. The public transport system is weak and ineffective, it lacks indigenous research and innovation. We still emulate the age old and obsolete technologies which were being used by other nations decades ago, for example – the Sweden model of multi-axle buses which were introduced in a 1970s there, are now getting imported to India. The quantity and quality of urban transport system are both inefficient and unsustainable. The only option left with general public is to have private vehicles, leading to more traffic congestion, pollution, poor traffic speed and loss of time and resources. The government policy towards urban planning and management is poor and shortsighted and lacks long-term endeavor. The capacity building usually follows the demand and does not precede it, leaving a demand-supply lag every time. In the given scenario of rapid urbanization, Government should work with a Private sector, NGOs, and civil society to monitor and tackle the current problems and to build capacity for future.
The talk was followed by a question and answer round, where students put forward their queries and concerns regarding the urban transport system in India. The common consent was on the existence of huge scope of improvement in the urban transport system. Many students also made up their minds to conduct research on the topic to find constructive solutions.