Friday, 27 February 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 27/02/2015

Rail Budget - 2015

  • A sober rail budget presented by Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February, 2015. No new trains or factories, and instead laying the track for increasing carrying capacity by substantially stepping up investment in infrastructure.
  • He kept passenger fares intact given the fall in diesel prices, which saved him Rs 5,000 crore this year, but hiked freight rates for some commodities, including coal, by 6.3% and cement by 2.7%.
  • To transform the Railways and make it future-ready, Prabhu proposes to invest Rs 1 lakh crore in 2015-16, and over the coming five years Rs 8.5 lakh crore.
  • Of the Rs 1 lakh crore investment planned in 2015-16, the Finance Ministry has contributed Rs 40,000 crore as gross budgetary support, market borrowings through IRFC bring Rs 17,665 crore, Prabhu’s new financing mechanism Extra Budgetary Resources (institutional finance like World Bank) another Rs 17,136 crore, Rs 17,793 crore through internal resources, Rs 5,781 crore through PPPs and Rs 1,645 crore from diesel cess.
  • “Railways will create new vehicles to crowd in investment from long-term institutional investors and other partners. These may include setting up an infrastructure fund, a holding company and a joint venture with an existing NBFC of a PSU with IRFC, for raising long term debt from domestic as well as overseas sources, including multilateral and bilateral financial institutions,” he said in his budget speech.
  • The funds would be used for doubling and tripling lines, gauge conversion and building traffic facilities on congested routes. The money allocated for doubling of lines alone has seen a never-before 357% jump to around Rs 18,000 crore. There is also a 67% jump in the money allocated to passenger services. His proposed thrust areas include cleanliness, ease of securing tickets and berths, and security of women.
  • Decongestion and capacity augmentation were the buzzwords of Prabhu’s budget. “In the past we have been used to seeing Rail Budgets meant for others but not Railways. This Rail Budget is meant for Railways,” he said. “All over the world, railway works are carried out largely with moneys from markets. Instead of relying solely on the Finance Ministry, the idea is to get funds from outside into projects that offer healthy returns. I’m also looking at FDI,” Prabhu told after the budget.
  • The success of Prabhu’s budget next year will depend a lot on his ability to raise funds through other institutional mechanisms. Prabhu has anticipated that his overall Plan size might actually get higher, as these financing options start working out over the next 12 months.
  • The Railways have projected their total earnings to increase by 15% to Rs 1,83,578 crore, with freight accounting for two-thirds and passenger earnings for 27%. Prabhu expects 8% growth in freight and 6%increase in passenger traffic.
  • Against an operating ratio of 91.8% (money spent to earn Rs 100; the lower the more efficient) in 2014-15, Prabhu hopes to better it substantially to 88.5% by the end of next year.
  • Among the new passenger-friendly initiatives, Prabhu has approved the procurement of self-propelled electrical train sets. These will run on popular routes. They do not require locomotives to haul them, and run at better speeds.
  • The Rail Budget is the second in a series of three documents Prabhu has invested in. The first is a White Paper on Railways tabled in Lok Sabha before he presented the budget. The second is the Budget itself, and the third is a “Vision Document for 2030”, which is in the works.(Source - Indian Express)
Some key highlights of Rail Budget - 2015
  •  Railway infrastructure will be modernised so as to increase the number of passengers carried from 21 million to 30 million daily as well as increase the goods movement from 1 billion tonne to 1.5 billion tonne annually.
  • Finance Ministry to provide Budgetary Support of Rs. 40,000 crore for the Railway’s Annual Plan.
  • Financing cell to be created in Railway board to source finances from market.
  • On new trains, Suresh Prabhu said review is being done and new trains will be announced in this Parliament session.
  • Offering some coaches to travel agents.
  • Celebrating the centenary of Gandhiji's return to india - IRCTC to promote this. Kisna yatra - special travel scheme for farmers.
  • Skill development and self employment to be encouraged on Konkan Railway model.
  • Joint ventures with major public sector companies for meeting requirements of new lines.
  • Framework to facilitate private investment has been readied; Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III, joint ventures with states,PSUs.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announces Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Mumbai overnight journey trains.
  • Unveil IT vision on live information on running trains.
  • ‘Kayakalp’ to help in Technology Upgradation.
  • All India 24-7 helpline number will become operational.
  • Railways to engage private agencies in cleanliness drive. Waste-to-energy conversion plants to be set up.
  • Malaviya Chair at IIT/BHU for Railway technology.
  • Speedier Railway- 9 hi-speed corridors, high speed trains, Make in India opportunities.
  • Meghalaya brought under map in Indian Railways.
  • TRANSLOC – new PSU – end to end logistics solution.
  • 120 days: time for booking tickets.
  • Lifts and escalators at major stations.
  • Newly manufactured coaches brail-enabled for blind.
  • WiFi services will be made available at 400 railway stations.
  • Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments.
  • SMS alert on mobile, customer portal promoting Digital India campaign.
  • Increased quota for lower berths for elderly.
  • Lifts and escalators at major stations.
  • Bed linen to be designed by NIFT.
  • SMS on mobile valid proof for travelling.
  • Availability of clean water for passengers.
  • Veg kitchens to be introduced.
  • Train arrival and departure will be messaged, women and senior citizens can get middle berth with ease.
  • 24x7 helpline: 138 for customer complaints.
  • Nirbhaya funds to be utilised for security of women.
  • Working on Swachch Rail Swachch Bharat separate dept for cleanliness.
  • 7,388 bio toilets. 
  • 17,000 thousand toilets to be installed in 6 months: vaccum toilets to be made available.
Green Initiatives:
  • Solar power plant in Khatra station.
  • Will harness solar energy and for water conservation, water recycling plants to be set up.
  • Environment directive for environment protection.
  • 1000 MW solar plants to be set-up by developers on railway/Pvt. Land and on Rly Building at own cost.
  • Full fledged university during 2015-16.
  • Rs. 2,000 crore for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs. 2,500 crore through BOT/annuity route. Announces 1000 MW solar plant; 100DEMUs to be converted to dual fuel.(Source - Business Line)

87th Academy Awards 
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Grand Budapest Hotel won the most awards,tieing with four each.
Award won by Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (4)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
  • Best original screenplay: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
  • Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Award won by The Grand Budapest Hotel (4)
  • Best original score: Alexandre Desplat
  • Best Production Design
  • Achievement in makeup and hairstyling: Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier
  • Best costume design: Milena Canonero
Award won by Whiplash (3)
  • Film Editing - Tom Cross.
  • Sound mixing and Sound Editing - Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
  • Best Supporting Actor - J K Simmons
Best Actress - Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best Animated Film - Big Hero 6 (Feature Film); Feast (Short Film)

Injustice to Andhra Pradesh : Naidu
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said injustice was done to the State in the rail budget and asserted that it would be taken up with the Centre .
  • Mr. Naidu expressed anguish that a special railway zone for Visakhapatnam, an assurance given in the State Reorganisation Act was not announced.
  • Mr. Naidu hoped that justice would be done to A.P. in the supplementary budget.

No comments:

Post a Comment