13 February 2014


  • Passenger fares and freight rates remain unchanged in interim rail budget; 72 new trains introduced.
  • Unprecedented unruly scenes witnessed in Parliament.
  • Delhi Anti Corruption Branch files FIR against Veerappa Moily, Murli Deora and Mukesh Ambani for manipulating gas prices.
  • Industrial production contracts by 0.6 per cent in December; Manufacturing sector output declines by 1.6 per cent; Retail inflation falls to 24 month low of 8.79 per cent.
  • Centre approves subsidy of 3,333 rupees per ton for raw sugar exports.
  • Yuvraj Singh fetches astonishing bid of 14 crore rupees in the IPL.  
  • Karnataka lift Irani Trophy for the fifth time defeating Rest of India.
The interim railway budget for 2014-15 was presented by Railway Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge in Parliament today. Passenger fares and freight rates were left untouched. 72 new trains including Premium and express trains, besides more initiatives to ensure safety to eliminate loss of life and property formed part of the Budget. 
Assuring that Railway safety will never be compromised, Mr Kharge said, several measures have been taken and more are in the pipeline to further strengthen safety. 
Referring to Passenger Friendly initiatives, the Railway Minister said, passenger escalators are being installed at 61 railway stations. He said, air-conditioned EMU services will commence in Mumbai area by July this year. He said, the Independent Rail Tariff Authority, is being set up to advise the government on fixing fares and freight in a transparent manner.
The Railway Minister in his speech said the Capital of Arunachal Pradesh will soon be on rail map in this financial year with the commissioning of Harmuti-Naharlagun new line shortly. He said Meghalaya is also set to come on the rail map this fiscal as the Dudhnoi-Mehendipathar new line is set to be completed by next month.
Announcing that the governments of Karnataka, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana have agreed to share cost of several rail projects, the Railway Minister appealed to other States to follow the suit to create rail infrastructure in their areas.                                    
One of the important highlights of the budget is that a comprehensive fire and smoke detection system, currently on trial, would be extended to all passenger trains. The announcement is significant in view of rising fire incidents on trains. Another announcement relates to starting more high-speed trains and exploring low-cost option of semi-high speed trains on select routes. The budget spelt out a series of steps including SMS alerts, ticketing on mobile phones in the unreserved segment and online booking of meals for passengers' convenience. The budget also talked about plans to involve private sector and FDI to garner funds to modernise the largest transport network in the country. With Sant Bahadur, Shiela, AIR News, Delhi.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today said, 66 trains announced in the railway Budget last year will run before March end, except 15 trains, which are facing problems related to land clearances. In an interview to All India Radio, Mr Kharge said, the railways is duty bound to give more efficient service to passengers with minimum fares.
We have to consider the health of the railway and keeping railway alive and more efficiently to run and at the same time we should give satisfactory service to passengers with minimum fares.
The Railway Minister said, the new mechanism of fare revision under Rail Tariff Authority will give proper directions to the Ministry.
The full interview can be heard immediately after this bulletin in our programme spotlight and news analysis on FM Gold and Rajdhani channels.
The Congress has welcomed the rail budget.  Party spokesperson, Rajiv Shukla said the budget has taken care of the passengers' interest on top priority.
It is very fine budget. In this budget passengers have been taken care of, as there is no fare hike, facilities have been increased and new railway links have been established. North -East has been connected extensively through Railways. It is significant thing and very important too.
Gurudas Dasgupta of CPI in his reaction said though the budget is good, it has not properly given due concern to the safety and security of rail passengers.
Some new trains have been given to Bengal. It is a good thing. There has been no talk of increase in  fare, it is also a good thing. But the safety and security which is most paramount today has not been properly addressed in the budget.
The BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the whole country is ignored in this railway budget.
The rail budget has nothing significant in it. Bihar has been ignored earlier, now even the whole country is ignored. This budget is from the out going government, there were neither any hopes nor have they come up to expectations.
DMK  has welcomed the budget saying the introduction of eight new trains for Tamil Nadu will benefit the people of the state.
Expressing happiness on no populist measures being incorporated in the rail budget, PHD Chamber of Commerce President Sharad Jaipuria said the focus was rightly on attracting huge investments to upgrade, modernising and expanding railways.
 Assocham President Rana Kapoor said the increased efforts towards unlocking the value of railway assets would go a long way in achieving sectoral growth in railways.            
The Telangana issue continued to hit the proceedings in the two Houses of the Parliament affecting even the presentation of interim rail budget. Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge was forced to finish his budget speech in a hurry following unprecedented commotion and unruly scenes in the Lok Sabha. Even before Kharge commenced his speech, Members from both Telangana and Seemandhra regions trooped into the well and raised slogans on the statehood issue.  As the din continued, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House for the day after presentation of rail budget.
In the  Rajya Sabha, the Railway Minister tabled a copy of the budget amid noisy scenes. Earlier also, the House could not transact any business due to repeated disruptions mainly on Telangana issue. Release of Tamil fishermen, violence against women and alleged wrong mentioning of AIADMK members in the House bulletin were also raised by the agitated members.
The BJP has reiterated its stand to support the Telangan Bill in Parliament but said everyone's concern should be addressed. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today had a  luncheon meeting with top BJP leaders to discuss the smooth functioning of Parliament and passage of  important pending legislations, including the Telangana  and anti-graft Bills.
Delhi Government's Anti Corruption Branch, ACB, has registered an FIR with respect to alleged irregularities in the pricing of natural gas from KG basin. This follows the government directing the ACB to file criminal cases against Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily, former Union Minister Murli Deora, DG Hydrocarbons V K Sibal, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and others in this connection.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has  written to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh requesting him to put on hold the hike in natural gas price proposed from April this year till the probe is over. In his letter, the Chief Minister demanded that oil fields allocated to Reliance Industries be taken back as it failed to produce targeted quantity, leading to scarcity of gas and forcing the country to import the natural gas at a high cost.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today criticized the Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi Government alleging it is not able to fulfill any promise it made on the eve of elections. Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi, he remarked that the Aam Aadmi Party is indulging in unnecessary criticism against the central ministers as it is frustrated. 
Remaining in the negative zone for the third month in a row, the country's industrial production contracted 0.6 per cent in December 2013, mainly due to sluggishness in the manufacturing sector. Industrial output for the April to December 2013 period has thus contracted 0.1 per cent. According to government data released today, manufacturing sector output declined 1.6 per cent in December.
Overall, 8 of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown de-growth in December.
Retail inflation fell for the second consecutive month and eased to 24-month low of 8.79 per cent in January mainly due to a drop in food prices. Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for December was 9.87 per cent down from 11.16 per cent in the previous month. This is the lowest rate of inflation since 7.65 per cent in January 2012.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a subsidy of 3,333 rupees per tonne  for raw sugar exports.  Food Minister K V Thomas said the subsidy will be for the month of February and March. A decision in this regard was taken at  the CCEA meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi this evening.
The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange gained 85 points--its best single day gain in three weeks--to close at 20,448, amid rising global markets, today. The Nifty added 21 points, to 6,084.
Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore advanced between 0.2 percent and 1.5 percent. 
The rupee strengthened 12 paise, to a three-week high of 62.10 against the dollar.But gold dropped 50 rupees, to 30,750 rupees per ten grams in Delhi. Silver fell 190 rupees, to 44,940 rupees per kilo.
And Brent crude oil futures moved higher toward 109 dollars a barrel, while U.S. crude climbed 62 cents, to 100.56 dollars a barrel.Pradeep Kumar, AIR News.
In an exciting day of IPL player auctions, Yuvraj Singh fetched an astonishing and also the highest price  of 14 crore rupees paid by Royal Challengers Bangalore today. England Team discard Kevin Pietersen went for a handsome 9 crore rupees to Delhi Daredevils which also fetched Murli Vijay at 5 crore rupees. Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson was grabbed by Kings Eleven Punjab for 6.5 crore rupees. South African all rounder Jacque  Kallies went to Kolkata Night Riders for 5.5 crore rupees and Robin Uthapa for 5 crore rupees to the same franchise. West Indies batmans Dwain Smith was grabbed by Chennai Super Kings for 4.5 crore rupees, Amit Mishra by Sunrisers Hyderabad for 4.25 crore rupees and Arone Finch by the same  outfit for 4 crore rupees.
Karnataka  defeated Rest of India by an innings and 222 runs in the Irani Trophy Cricket on the penultimate day at M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore today. Thus, the hosts, who had ended 15 years of drought by winning the Ranji Trophy by beating Maharashtra last month, added another feather to their cap by winning the Irani trophy for the fifth time.
Against a massive 606 in the first Innings by Karnataka, the visitors led by Harbhajan Singh scored 201 in the First Innings and 183 in the Second.

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