FINANCE TIP OF THE DAY
Can you afford your loan?!
Know the quantity of loan you can afford. The banks may sanction loan based on your income but you should look at your monthly expenditure and see if you can afford the maximum that banks offer. As a thumb rule, remember not to let your credit exceed 40% of your income!
Highlights of the Railway Budget 2012
The Union Railways Minister Mr. Dinesh Trivedi has presented the Railways Budget for the year 2012 to the parliament today. Having sought blessings from his illustrious predecessors like Mamata Banerjee and Lalu Yadav the minister also claims to have consulted all the members of parliament and CMs of all the states. The budget has been received with mixed reactions from various quarters. This is being hailed as a moderate budget without any path breaking initiatives but is certainly one that is balanced in many ways and has catered to the demands of most segments.
The primary concern of the minister this year was the safety standards being observed in the railways with which he appears to be disappointed with. Citing that almost 40% of all railways accidents in our nation occur at unmanned crossings, the minister promised to initiate steps that will eliminate unmanned crossings in a period of 5 years. He also proposed to set up an independent Railway Safety Authority which will plan and implement safety measures for the entire railways network in the country.
As far as the rates of rail travel is concerned there has been no drastic changes with only about 20 paisa per KM hike in 1st AC, 20 paisa for 2nd AC and 5 and 3 paisa per KM for sleeper and express class respectively. The freight rates have also not been hiked drastically. The minister has promised steps in improve the hygiene conditions on the trains and introduce new eco friendly and green toilets on the trains. There will be an independent tariff regulatory body to look into various aspects of tariff fixation both in the passenger section as well as freight services. The plan is to spend Rs. 1112 crores on providing amenities to passengers. This includes provisions for alternate accommodation facilities for passengers.
On the development front there are several new initiatives. Firstly the minister has plans of setting up a coach factory at Palaghat, Kerela in collaboration with the state government. There will be 75 new express trains and 21 new passenger trains this year on the tracks. The track modernization plan for 19000 km appears ambitious and also promises to electrify about 6500 KM in this financial year. The estimated expenditure proposed for this track modernization plan is Rs. 6647 crores. There will be new tracks in tribal areas to expedite the process of development process as part of the government’s larger plans to assimilate the tribals into the mainstream. There are also plans to create an independent regulatory body that will govern the development of railway stations on the lines of Airport Authority of India.
The fiscal outlay for railways has been by far the highest ever this year at Rs. 60100 crores. The gross budgetary provision for railways this year is slated around Rs 20000 crores. The expected passenger earning in the next fiscal is about Rs 89339 crores with a gross of 1025 million tones of freight and passenger fare earnings of about Rs 36100 crores. The railways minister is looking for about 7.5 lakh crores out which he is looking for about 5 lakh crores from the PM railway scheme.
The minister thanked the 14 lakh strong railway workforce and promised a host of welfare measures for them. He said that the railways had recruited about 80000 persons in the last year which is likely to cross a lakh in current fiscal. A total Rs. 1385 crores has been allotted towards various welfare projects being undertaken by the railways in various fields.
The magnitude of operations and personnel involved in the Indian Railways and the sheer size and length of the railways network in this country make it one of the most important infrastructures. The minister has compared the railways to the ‘Ganges’ which connects all parts of nation without heed to caste, creed and religion or status.