Even as the Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda prepares to present his maiden budget in the Parliament, on Tuesday, stakeholders debate the outcomes and impact the new budget could have on the common man. UPA had estimated an investment of Rs. 64,305 crore under Annual Plan 2014-15 in their interim budget. They had also estimated a loss of Rs 30,000 crore for the year. Will the Modi government be able to give us better numbers?
Gowda finishes reading out his Budget amidst uproar from the opposition members. Sensex at 25196 down 124 points while Nifty is down 50 points at 7737. Railway stocks are all in Red with Texmaco Rail being the biggest loser down 11%. Other stocks like Titagarh Wagons, Kernex Micro, Stone India are all down around 5%.
Gowda speaks of overhauling the system but does not set timeline or constructive plan for most issues.
Congress has come out with the first reaction: says is not happy with various measures. But it would welcome the government's attempts to bring in more foreign direct investment.
5 Jansadharan, 5 Premium & 6 AC, 27 Express Trains, 8 Passenger, 5 DEMU & 2 MEMU services; 11 train extensions.
New train services are limited for resource constraints. Govt to stick to promises made in interim Budget.
Committee has been set up in twin states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana to work out train details
Bangalore to be connected better with suburban areas
Railway stoppages to be renewed after September 2014
High speed trains on Kanpur-Nagpur, Mysore-Bangalore-Chennai.
Automatic rebate on return tickets
Monitoring of Eastern & Western Dedicated Freight Corridor Projects; Target of nearly 1000 kms of construction contracts.
Identify special stations to inetrnational standards through PPP mode
Railways to go paperless in 5 years.
Increase per capita railways staff welfare fund from Rs 500 to Rs 800.
Tie up with technical institutions to begin training on railways relate technical and nontechnical subjects
Short term Trainings to be carried out in the meantime on spcl issues like high speed trains in India and abroad
Bullet trains to begin shortly, diamond quadrangle network for high speed project. Budget outlay of Rs 1000 crore.
He expects total receipts of Rs 164370 crore. He proposes to increases plan outlay to Rs 47,300 crore, higher than UPA outlay by almost Rs 9000 crore. He wants to scale down market borrowing to Rs 11790 crore.
The focus areas:
Sufficient water supply and toilets, escalators and lifts, battery operated cars at all stations.
Online booking facilities of railway retiring rooms.
Expand the scope of online booking.
Catering a major issue of concern. Also introduce ready to eat meals at trains of reputed brands. Also a system of third party audit.
Severe actions against contractors including cacellations of contracts in case of major complaints with hygiene.
Food court at all stations. Pilot project to begin soon.
Attach high priority on cleanliness but always a challenge. Increase Budget allocation of 40% over last year's Budget. CCTV cameras and all India help lines to be introduced to maintain cleanliness.
Introduce RO drinking water at trains and stations (with help of corporate and NGOs)
Gowda begins to read the Railway Budget for 2014-15. He says railways is the structure and soul of the Indian economy. He quotes Kautilya, "In the happiness of the people lies the ruler's happiness, in their welfare lies the ruler's welfare." Indian railways runs 12,5000 trains. He targets to become largest freight carrier in the world. He said he will start work on high speed network.
Dinesh Trivedi, former railway minister told NDTV in an interview that the need of the hour would be to de-politicise the Indian railways. The government should work towards all party consensus to make the railways profitable. He said instead of a one-year Budget, long term national policy on the railways is also desirable. He says the government who is deciding on the price rise today, protested against the UPA government when it was hiking prices a year back. So the parties need to have the same standard in power and in opposition and decide what is good for the people.
Trivedi had to resign in 2012 after he hiked prices, apparently without the consensus of his own party Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee.
The Railway Budget 2014-15 is expected to be growth oriented and unveil strategies to mobilise alternative sources of funding to modernise and upgrade the crucial logistics sector.
Gowda with the Budget suitcase at the door of the Parliament.
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 8, 2014
Gowda, on the other hand, is likely to adopt a realistic approach in announcing new trains, lines and survey in view of the cash crunch of Rs 26,000 crore. While many unviable projects may be scrapped, he will also announce some new projects on priority basis in the Rail Budget 2014-15.
UPA had estimated an investment of Rs. 64,305 crore under Annual Plan 2014-15 in their interim budget. They had also estimated a loss of Rs 30,000 crore for the year. will the Modi government be able to give us better numbers?
Earlier this morning, Gowda tweeted, hoping to meet people's expectations:
Going to present my maiden budget as a @RailMinIndia minister today. Hope we are able to meet public expectations.
— Sadananda Gowda (@DVSBJP) July 8, 2014
On day one of the Budget session, on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had blamed the 14.2% rail fare hike on the previous Congress government, "The Railways has been left in tatters by the UPA government. It is not possible to fill gaps which the Congress left, in just five weeks," he accused. "Suggestions of fare rise in railways came to the government due to losses incurred in February." However, he also defended the fare hike by saying, "If you want to use a service, you need to pay for it."
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