Railway Budget 2013-14 has been a mixed bag for both passengers and the logistics sector. The minister deserves special kudos for continuing with modernization drive despite the Finance Ministry clearly hinting spending cuts across various sectors.
Indian Railways today increased freight charges for transporting diesel, cooking gas and kerosene by 5.8 percent, but oil firms may not immediately pass on the hike to consumers.
Raising hopes of smooth and much faster online bookings of rail tickets, Railways Minister P K Bansal today said a new e-ticketing system will be deployed by December-end which will allow 7,200 bookings per minute against the present 2,000.
Cement may get costlier by Rs seven per bag of 50 kg because of the hike in freight rate by 5.79 per cent in Railway Budget today, but manufacturers of the building material said a final call will be taken after the Union Budget.
The Railway Budget was a mixed bag for India Inc with industry bodies cautioning that the hike in freight charges will fuel inflation, while other chambers said some proposals if implemented could set the growth multiplier in motion.
An over five per cent increase in freight tariff due to imposition of fuel adjustment component (FAC) from April and a hike in supplementary charges on super fast trains will fetch the Railways an additional revenue of Rs 4,683 crores in the next fiscal.
The suburban railway commuters' bodies today said they were disappointed by the budget as it has overlooked the hardships faced by about 75 lakh daily commuters even as the railway minister announced the much awaited introduction of AC local from the next fiscal.
In a major initiative to address concerns of the power sector, Railways is planning to invest about Rs 4,000 crore to enhance rail connectivity to coal mines to boost fuel supplies to projects.
Shares of companies supplying equipment to the Railways fell quite sharply on Tuesday as investors do not see any big orders coming their way from announcements in the Rail Budget.
Rail Budget Live Commentary: Passenger fares have not been entirely spared of a hike. Charges on superfast trains and tatkal bookings will be hiked.