3:20 pm 3 new train services:
Introduction of three select train services -Humsafar, Tejas and UDAY- for reserved passengers was one of the highlights of the Railway Budget 2016-17 presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today.
Humsafar would be fully air conditioned third A C service with an optional service for meals.
Tejas on the other hand would showcase the future of train travel in India. Operating at speeds of 130 kmph and above, it will offer onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine and wi-fi through service providers, while ensuring accountability and improved customer satisfaction.
3:10 pm Railways’ earning falls short of target: Railways’ revenue from passenger fares as well as freight rates is expected to fall short of the Budget target by Rs 15,744 crore in the current fiscal.
While it had budgeted to earn over Rs 1.83 lakh crore in 2015-16, as per the revised estimates it is going to earn about Rs 1.67 lakh crore.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu attributed the shortfall to tepid economic growth due to global slowdown.
“Historically declining model share of Indian Railways, which dropped from 62 per cent in 1980 to 36 per cent in 2012, is continuing to exert pressure on the institution,” Prabhu said presenting the Rail Budget for 2016-17.
3:00 pm Market Update: Equity benchmarks extended losses in late trade with the Nifty struggling below 7000 ahead of expiry of February futures & options contracts. The index fell 48.35 points or 0.69 percent to 6970.35.
The Sensex declined 115.40 points or 0.50 percent to 22973.53. The BSE Midcap dropped more than 1 percent and Smallcap index slipped 0.9 percent.
Infosys, L&T, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, SBI, Axis Bank and Maruti Suzuki were top negative contributors’ to Sensex, down 1-3 percent while HDFC, Sun Pharma, ONGC and Coal India gained 2 percent.
The Indian rupee hit fresh 30-month low today, down 17 paise to 68.73 a dollar.
2:55 pm Food subsidies: India’s food ministry wants Rs 1.40 lakh crore (USD 20.40 billion) in subsidies for the next fiscal year, a rise of 13 percent from the previous year, to run a mammoth food welfare programme after two successive droughts, said a senior government official.
Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing the expensive food welfare plan approved by his predecessor Manmohan Singh, his government is trying to rein in overall subsidies to focus on investment in manufacturing and infrastructure.
“In its previous Budget, the government had allocated 1.24 trillion rupees as food subsidy for 2015/16 but we now need 1.40 trillion for next year. Let’s see what’s in store for us in the Budget,” the source, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters.
On Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present his annual Budget for the 2016/17 fiscal year starting in April.
2:50 pm Mahindra Finance in MF biz soon: Mahindra Finance, a non-banking financial company (NBFC), which recently received licence from Sebi for mutual fund business, is likely to kick-start its MF arm by April, a top company official said.
Moreover, the company is pinning hopes on a good monsoon to improve its performance in the next fiscal.
“We have recently received licence for mutual fund arm and we are currently busy filing for some of our MF products for Sebi’s approval before we kick off the MF arm,” Mahindra Finance Managing Director Ramesh G Iyer told PTI.
2:45 pm Railway’s borrowing plan: Indian Railways will borrow Rs 20,000 crore from markets through its two companies IRFC and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd for capital expenditure during 2016-17, a whopping 69 percent rise over the current fiscal year’s revised estimate.
Market borrowing, as per the revised estimate for current fiscal, has been pegged at about Rs 11,848 crore, lower than Rs 17,655 crore estimated earlier, according to the Railway Budget for 2016-17, which was tabled by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in Parliament today.
Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) will raise Rs 19,760 crore in 2016-17 for investment in rolling stock and projects, while RVNL plans to raise Rs 240 crore.
2:40 pm Road min seeks rebate: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approached Finance Ministry with a proposal for rebate in the form of excise duty reduction for consumers who purchase a new vehicle and give their old one for scrapping.
The ministry is in the process of making a policy to incentivise people to bring their old vehicles for scrapping, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways P Radhakrishnan said in a written reply to Lok Sabha. “A letter has been written to the Finance Ministry on January 20, 2016 to intimate if an incentive in the form of reduction in excise duty on the purchase of new vehicle can be given,” he added.
2:35 pm Freight rate revival soon: India’s state-owned railways is reviewing the tariff structure for its freight business and wants to expand the basket of commodities it transports to boost revenues, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.
Presenting the annual Rail Budget for 2016/17, Suresh Prabhu said the freight business – which provides two-thirds of Indian railways’ revenues – was struggling as capacity constraints bite and industrial demand slows.
2:30 pm Rubber production falls: Natural rubber production fell by 3.4 per cent during the last month to 56,000 tonnes, while imports rose by 21 per cent to 35,174 tonnes.
Production stood at 58,000 tonnes and imports at 29,141 tonnes in January, according to the Rubber Board data.
Natural rubber consumption declined to 82,000 tonnes in January 2016 from 83,850 tonnes in the same month last year.
In the first 10 months of the current financial year 2015-16, natural rubber production fell by nearly 13 per cent to 4,96,000 tonnes as against 5,68,000 tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Consumption also fell by 3 per cent to 8,21,910 tonnes in the April-January period of this fiscal from 8,48,535 tonnes in the year-ago period.
2:25 pm L&T in news: The hydrocarbon engineering arm of L&T has signed a long-term agreement with McDermott International for subsea projects in deepwater segment in the east coast of India.
L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Ltd (LTHE) has inked the agreement with McDermott to develop a cost-effective approach at the L&T subsidiary’s Kattupalli facility near Chennai, L&T said in a regulatory filing today.
McDermott provides engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) services for offshore and subsea field developments worldwide. It delivers fixed and floating production facilities, pipelines and subsea systems from concept to commissioning.
2:20 pm Railway to cut cost: Railways said on Thursday it planned to cut costs and generate new sources of revenue next year to offset a big rise in its wage bill and help keep an ambitious modernisation plan on track on track.
Presenting the annual Rail Budget for 2016/17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the planned budget outlay for the world’s fourth-largest network would be 1.21 trillion rupees (USD 17.6 billion), up about 20 percent from the current year’s estimated expenditure.
But a slowdown in growth of passenger and freight revenues has put pressure on the railways’ finances one year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government unveiled a 5-year USD 137 billion investment plan to overhaul the saturated and decrepit network.
2:15 pm Coal India production target: The government is working to increase coal production by Coal India Ltd to 1,000 million tonne in the next four years through the use of latest environment-friendly technology, Lok Sabha was informed today.
The estimated production planned by CIL during 2019-20 is 908.10 million tonne and there are plans to raise it upto 1,000 million tonne, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said while responding to supplementaries during Question Hour.
The roadmap prepared by CIL to increase the production has been put in public domain, he said.
2:10 pm No changes in Rail fares: The Railway Budget for 2016-17 today spared passengers and goods movement from any increase in tariffs while it announced introduction of three new superfast trains and creation of dedicated north-south, east-west and east coast freight corridors by 2019.
Presenting his second Budget in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promised rationalising of the tariff structure by undertaking a review to evolve competitive rates vis-a-vis other modes of transport and to expand the freight basket as a means of additional revenue mobilisation.
Unlike last year when he tweaked freight rates, Prabhu made no changes either in passenger fares or freight rates.
Also read – Prabhu fails to meet FY16 revenue tgt; raises plan outlay
2:00 pm Market Check: The market continued to be volatile with negative bias ahead of expiry of February derivative contracts. The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 29.60 points to 23059.33 and the Nifty declined 19.05 points to 6999.65.
The market breadth remained weak as about 1374 shares declined against 904 advancing shares on the BSE.
Zicom Security Systems rallied more than 8 percent after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu says all stations will have CCTV surveillance in phased manner, adding 311 railway stations currently are under CCTV surveillance. The government will also introduce CCTV coverage at all Tatkal counters.
KEC International gained 5 percent. Prabhu says railway ministry will hasten electrification of railways working with power ministry as railway plans to electrify 2,000 kilometer track in FY17.