10Jul

Budget 2014 : Consolidation of Banks

Consolidation of banks – government will consider it. But this means nothing till he actively promotes it. But a big change is banks will be allowed to raise long-term funds with no CRR/SLR obligations. This means more funds will flow to infrastructure sector. Six debt recovery tribunals also to be set up to improve banks’ bad loans situation.

10Jul

Budget 2014 : Oil and Gas bits

Key to budget subsidies. Gas grid to be built for another 15,000 km, double current level. Royalty rates on minerals to be revised this year.

8Jul

Railway Budget 2014-15 – Highlights

To enhance network around Bangalore, neighbouring towns

Some stations to be developed to international standards through PPP model: Gowda

To ensure safety, provision of Rs 1,785 crore for road-over/under bridges, multi-pronged approach to eliminate unmanned level crossings.

Future e-Ticketing to support 7200 tickets per minute and to allow 1.2 lakh simultaneous users: Rail Minister

Wi-Fi in A-1 and A category stations and in select trains: Rail Minister

Setting up of Railway University for technical and non-technical subjects. Tie-up with technical institutions.

Railways plans to increase speed of trains to 160 to 200 km per hour in nine select sectors

Gowda announces decision to launch diamond quadrilateral of high speed trains

Ladies’ coaches to be escorted by women RPF constables; additional care for ladies travelling alone, says Railway Minister

To boost fruit, vegetables transport via AC storage spaces 

Bullet train proposed on Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector

4,000 women constables to be inducted to enhance onboard safety: Railway Minister

Outsourcing at 50 major stations; onboard housekeeping to be extended to more trains; Launching feedback service through IVRS on the quality of food; Food can be ordered by SMS and phone

Resource mobilisation through leveraging PSU resources, Foreign Direct Investment and Public Private Participation: Rail Minister

Recent fare and tariff hike to mop additional revenue of about Rs 8,000 crore 

Reservation system will be revamped and ticket-booking through mobile phones and post offices popularised: Gowda.

Budget allocation for cleanliness up by 40 per cent over the last year.

Retiring room facility to be extended to all stations: Gowda.

Computer workstations on select trains upon payment 

The Indian Railways carry 23 million passengers a day, over 1 billion tonnes of freight every year.

Trains that run in India are capable to move the entire population of Australia.

Target to become the largest freight carrier of the world

Indian Railways spent Rs 41,000 crore on laying of 3,700 km of new lines in last 10 years.

Gross traffic receipts in 2013-14 was Rs 12,35,558 crore; operating ratio was 94 per cent, says Gowda presenting Rail Budget

Social obligation of Railways in 2013-14 was Rs 20,000 crore: Gowda said.

Populist projects and mismanagement have brought Railways to point of funds crunch: Gowda

This state of affairs in railways needs immediate course correction: Gowda

Need to explore alternative sources of resource mobilisation and not depend on fare hike alone: Rail Minister

Recent fare revision to net Rs 8,000 cr to Railways

Of the 676 projects sanctioned, only 356 remain completed

FDI in railway projects, except in operations, to be attracted: Gowda.

Future projects to be financed on public-private partnership model: Gowda

8Jul

Rail Budget 2014-15 LIVE: First Bullet Train between Mumbai-Ahmedabad, 58 new trains

Presenting his maiden Rail Budget in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda announced 58 new trains including 5 new Jansadharans, 5 premium trains, 6 AC express, 27 express trains, 8 passenger trains, 2 MEMU trains and 5 DEMUs. He further announced extension of 11 trains’ route.

Stating that bullet trains are a priority, the Railway Minister proposed the first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmadabad route. Railways will also launch high-speed trains to connect major cities, he said.

Gowda said his ministry would also seek cabinet approval for allowing foreign direct investment in the state-owned network, but passenger services would be excluded.

“The bulk of our future projects will be… by the PPP model,” he told India`s parliament, referring to public-private partnerships.

India`s railway, the world`s fourth-largest, has suffered from years of low investment and populist policies to subsidise fares. This has turned a once-mighty system into a slow and congested network that crimps economic growth.

The decision to push private investment signals the appetite Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s new government has for taking tough and unpopular decisions he has said are needed to revive the economy.

Reform of the railways has long proven politically sensitive. Successive governments have backed away from modernization, preferring instead to use the system to provide cheap transport for voters, and jobs for 1.3 million people.

Here are the Highlights of Rail Budget 2014:

-I am grateful to PM Narendra Modi for having reposed his faith in me, I promise to fulfill this responsibility

-Indian Railways is the nation’s prime mover

-Indian Railways cuts across all barriers of class and creed

-I am flooded with request and suggestions for new trains, new rail lines

-Everybody feels that there is a solution to the challenges that the Indian Railways faces

-Quotes Kautilya “ïn the happiness of the people lies the happiness of the ruler”

-Indian Railways carries 23 million passengers

-Run 4700 freight trains with 3 million tonnes of freight everyday

-Target to become the largest freight carrier in the world

-Indian Railways carries anything and everything, it never says no to anything if it fits the wagons

-We carry over 1 billion tonnes of freight every year

-Freight business has grown but IR carries only 31% of total freight movement in the country

-Network of 1.16 lakh km, 63,000 passenger coaches, more than 2 lakh wagons and over 13 lakh employees

-Gross receipts in 2013-14 were Rs 139,558 cr, expenditure was 130,320 cr

-Indian Railways has an operating ratio of 94%

-This means we spent 95% of every rupee earned

-Loss in passenger sector was 23 paisa per km, freight rates were increased to compensate

-In the last ten years 99 new line projects were sanctioned out of which only 1 project is complete, there are 4 projects that are as old as 30 years

-If this trend is allowed to continue it would lead to spending of many more crores without returns

-41,000 cr was spent on laying of new lines but spent only 18,000 cr on doubling of tracks, though it was a priority over new lines

-Indian Railways is starved of funds despite 100% advance payment by customers

-Mismanagement led to severe fund crunch

-Dilemma between choosing commercial viability and social viability

-Time to take corrective actions, fare revision was one such step

-Fare revision will bring in 8000 cr but IR needs more than 9 lakh crore only to complete the golden quadrilateral project

-Only hiking fares is unrealistic, will work on Railways PSUs

-Private investment in railway infrastructure – domestic as well as foreign

-FDI in railways except railway operation

-PPP route to generate revenue

-Our target is to finance bulk of future projects through PPP mode

-Support for timely completion of projects

-Gross traffic receipt grew by 12 % but revenue target could not be reached

-Internal resource generation was around 11,000 cr, short of target by over 2000 cr

-Operating ratio deteriorated by 2.7%

Budget estimates:

-Anticipating a healthier economy. Gross receipt estimate pegged at Rs 164,374 cr, expenditure at 149,176 cr, freight growth of 4.9%, an incrementation of 51% over last year

-Anticipate small growth in passenger grower

-Freight revenue estimate at 157,770, passenger traffic revenue estimate at 44,645 cr

-Thank FM for increasing resource allocation by 1,100 cr in 2013-14

-Large part of higher plan outlay will go to improve safety

-Plan to scale down market borrowing to around 1,100 cr

-Maximum financial outlay to projects that are scheduled to be completed this year

-Allocate resources to high priority areas like safety, cleanliness, capacity augmentation

-Foot over bridges, escalators at all major stations through PPP mode, toilets, water shelters at all stations

-Involve NGOs to improve passenger amenities

-Work stations in select trains, pilot project this year

-Expanding scope of online booking

-Railways have been attaching high priority to cleanliness but it has always been a challenges

-40% increase in budget allocation for the same

-Outsource cleanliness at 50 major stations, cleanliness will be monitored by CCTV cameras

-Onboard house keeping currently available in select trains will be introduced in all trains

-1785 cr collocation for road under- and over- bridges

-Speedy clearances on first come, first serve basis

-Action to eliminate all level crossings

-Ultrasonic system to detect fault in tracks

-Technology for automatic clsing of doors both in main line and suburban sections

-17000 RPF personnel have been recruited, 4000 women RPF constables would be recruited – coaches meant for ladies will be escorted

-RPF personnel will be provided with mobiles so that passengers can contact them in times of distress

-New tourist circuit to be introduced

-Special train to propagate the teachings of swami Vivekananda

-Ticketing through post offices will be popularized

-e-ticketing mechanism will be strengthened to allow 120,000 simultaneous bookings

-Special scheme for meritorious wards of railway personnel

-Railway university for both technical and non-technical subjects

-Drinking water facility at all stations

-Endeavor to fulfill the long cherished dream of bullet trains

-Bullet trains on Mumbai-Ahmedabad section

-Ambitious plan to have a diamond quadrilateral high speed rail network – 100 cr allocated in budget

-Increase in speed of trains to 160 to 200 kilometers per hour on select sectors

-Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Kanpur
Nagpur-Bilaspur, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai, Nagpur-Secunderabad

-Develop international standard stations in 10 major cities and important junctions

-Over 33% freight runs run empty, discount to customers who will provide returning traffic

-Parcel traffic would be segregated to separate terminals to decongest platforms

– New design for parcel vans is being finalized

-Policy of private freight terminals through PPP mode is being finalized

-10 temperature-controlled warehouses at 10 locations in first phase to prevent wastage of fruit and vegetables

-Indian Railways will start using biodiesel upto 5% of total consumption in diesel locomotives

-Project management group to be set up at railway board level to monitor execution of projects

-E-procurement to be made compulsory for procurement worth Rs 25 lakh and above

-Substantial higher funds for projects in Northeast – 54% jump in allocation over the previous year

-WiFi in A1 and A category stations & in select trains. Internet-based Platform & Unreserved Tickets

-864 more EMUs for Mumbai suburban network

-Bayapanhalli to be developed as a coach terminal near Bangalore

-Projects worth over Rs 20,000 are at various stages in Telangana and AP. They will be completed

-18 surveys for new lines, 10 surveys for doubling-tripling of lines in 2013-2014

-Train connectivity to Kedarnath-Badrinath to be examined

-5 new Jansadharans, 5 premium trains, 6 AC express, 27 express trains, 8 passenger trains, 2 MEMU trains, 5 DEMUs

-Extend run of 11 trains

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