Emphasis on security, passenger amenities, expansion of rail network, slew of concessions... freight and passenger rates left untouched, are some highlights of Union Minister Mamata Banerjee's Railway Budget for 2010-11.
113 new trains; no hike in fares
Service charge cut to Rs 10 for sleeper & Rs 20 for AC
Rs 100/wagon cut in freight rates for foodgrain and kerosene to help moderate prices
No forcible acquisition of land
No increase in freight charges
Pay more and get a rake through tatkal scheme
Special task force to clear investment proposals in 100 days
1,000 km of new lines against average of 219 km in last 5 yrs
Rly Budget is a survey budget: Lalu
For a complete list of the budget highlights take a look here.
The operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenue) is expected to improve marginally to 92.3% in 2010-11 from the current year’s 94.7%. That depends on gross traffic receipts rising 7.3% — with passenger earnings growing 8.6% and freight by a conservative 6.4% during the year — and limiting the expenditure increase to 4.4%. The ideal operating ratio for railways is believed to be 80% or lower. A higher operating ratio means that ordinary working expenses claim practically all the revenues, leaving little with which to fund new projects in this capital-intensive sector.
The budget should be commended for seeking to partner the private sector for new lines, railway stations, manufacturing units of rolling stock, multi–modal logistic parks, high speed train corridors, port connectivity and multi-level parking.
You can download the full text of the Railway Minister's budget speech here.
Following is an explanation offered by Arvind Panagariya in his op-ed piece today.
Due to myriad labour regulations, protection to workers and therefore labour costs in the organised sector rise exponentially as the firm size increases. The result is manufacturers do their best to avoid operating in the organised sector. And when they do, they either remain small as in textiles and apparel or go for capital- or skilled labour-intensive products such as automobiles, auto parts, petroleum refining, software and pharmaceuticals in which unskilled-labour costs are a small proportion of the total cost. Additionally, for any given product, they opt for the most capital- or skilled labour intensive technologies.
As a result of these choices, employment in the organised sector has been extremely low and stagnant. The only place left for workers then is the unorganised sector. But when 93% of the workers in a highly labour-abundant country seek employment in the unorganised sector, which is characterised by very low productivity, low wage is the natural outcome.
eg: A tad neater perhaps, with a smidgen more of savoir faire in delivery, yet they remain reassuringly desi in essence; not too much of post-reform gobbledegook, no fancy gloss calculated to pull in the punters, and most of all, no sudden makeovers to stun the unsuspecting.
A tiny or scarcely detectable amount
Incomprehensible or pompous jargon of specialists
A flowery and highly rhetorical oration; (rhetoric) the concluding section of an oration
eg: In her 110 minute peroration, Banerjee slowly built up speed, ...