Luxembourg Current Affairs - 2020

Luxembourg: The First Country in the World to provide Free Public Transport

Luxembourg in Europe has become the first country to make all forms of public transport free. It is the second smallest country in the European Union.

Highlights

Around 0.2 million passengers travel to Luxembourg from its neighbouring countries such as Belgium, France and Germany for work. Also, it has the highest car density in European Union.

Why Free Public Transport?

According to European Commission Statistical Wing, Luxembourg had 670 cars per 1000 people. The capital of the country also called Luxembourg was the 53rd most congested city in the world according to 2020 Traffic Index. People in the city lost 163 useful hours to traffic. It will also help reduce pollution to great extent.

How does it work?

The project of making public transport free is a dual social measure in the country. It is funded by the tax payers. This will help low earners save money. Also, the burden is shouldered by the better off population.

The Government of Luxembourg is to compensate the loss of finances of the scheme by taxes. The Government earns 8% of the public transportation costs though ticket sales.

Similar Measures by Delhi Government

In October 2019, the State Government of Delhi announced similar scheme. The Government had made public transport free for women. Delhi being the 8th most congested city in the world, the scheme has boosted women population. However, it financial drained Delhi Transport Corporation.

Hurdles

Infrastructure of buses is the major concern. The Supreme Court in 2001 assessed that Delhi needs 10,000 buses. The predictions should increase by 2020. Currently, there are only 6,233 buses with the Delhi State Transport Corporation (according to February 2020).

Also, Delhi Metro is highly expensive for its high operational cost. More steps have to be taken to improvise Metro to make it less expensive for running.

Henley Passport Index

The Henley Passport Index measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The Index is based on the data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.

Ranking of the Jurisdictions

The Rankings of the jurisdictions based on the rankings in the Henley Passport Index are:

  • Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most travel-friendly passport due to the document’s access to 190 jurisdictions.
  • South Korea and Singapore are at joint second position offering access to 189 jurisdictions.
  • China has jumped almost 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.
  • India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year.
  • European Union member states along with Norway and the US occupy the places behind the top three nations in the rankings.
  • The rankings of the USA and UK have continued to drop.
  • The top 5 positions are held by Japan (190 countries), Singapore, South Korea (189), France, Germany (188), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187), and Luxembourg, Spain (186)
  • The bottom 5 positions are held by Eritrea (38), Yemen (37), Pakistan (33), Somalia, Syria (32)and Afghanistan, Iraq (30).

Observations

Christian Kalin, Chairman of the Henley & Partners’ Group who is also the creator of the index notes that the ranking is a bright spot in an increasingly isolationist world.

Open-door policies have the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world. The ascent in the rankings of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.