As we suggested yesterday, the market staged a minor rally today. The Nifty remains oversold and the weak rally may continue but there will be sellers at higher levels
The quality of inflight meals aboard Indian airlines have drastically come down while the Indian Railways seems to be going from strength to strength. It is time for a rethink in the way airlines serve flyers
So, how many of us remember the meals on domestic flights within India, which were good enough to discuss at home? As a matter of fact, for many, the inflight meal was best part of flying. Take a look at just some of the photographs from those days, not too long ago.
Even the thali served outside Delhi’s domestic departure, before privatisation, reared its ugly head and laid low all pretences of decent meals at terminals. Take a look at this photo
And then came the great low-fare no-frills revolution. Here, for example, is what you got free of charge on Indigo when they started—a barf bag and a bottle of water.
Soon thereafter, you could start buying sandwiches and soft drinks and stuff, and to-date, their purchased food onboard is one of the best. Plus, they don't make such a fuss if you bring your own onboard, they gladly provide napkins too.
SpiceJet, in the beginning, used to give free cookies. People started grabbing them by the bucket. End of cookies.
It then started with these really healthy whole wheat sandwiches, alas, not found onboard anymore.
Kingfisher Red tried to make amends but it was too late. Still, the concept of its free hot meal in a box was fun.
Go Air, when it started, had some really mixed up offerings, like this one below:
Later on, they got better:
Air Deccan, of course, was from a different planet, so to speak. They tried to refuse me free drinking water. Then, I threw the rule-book at them—commercial passenger licences ensure that ample potable drinking water is to be provided to passengers onboard. After this, they served it, for free. Besides this, their food was nothing much to write home about.
Fast forward to present. This is a particularly good meal I had on an Air India flight from Kochi to Delhi about a year ago.
Jet Airways and its various avatars are now at a point where often you do not know till you board whether you will get a meal, or not, either way, this is dinner on a Chennai-Delhi flight. Compare it to the one above, on Air India?
In the name of “no-frills” you can end up spending upwards of Rs250 for almost nothing, like these:
Take a look at what is on SpiceJet’s website:http://www.spicejet.com/foodmenu.asp. They make it look very appetising and mouth watering on their website.
Today, fares between low-cost and full-service airlines are often more or less the same. As a matter of fact, Air India is often cheaper on competing routes. This is considering the kind of time and stress involved before boarding a flight and taking into account the fact that you may have missed a meal. This calls for a much healthier and better meal than the greasy sandwiches that many of our airport snack bars seem to serve. Another thing is the fake ‘foreign’ fast food (which is another report altogether) and expensive hot cooked meals which have lost all semblance to value for money by the time it is served.
On the other hand, the Indian Railways appears to be going from strength to strength, and not just on the Deccan Queen but also on the Shatabdi and Rajdhani and Duronto class of trains.
It is about time airlines did what Indian Railways do: Define a meal by weight, charge a reasonable price, and most of all—healthy options. A bowl of salad or fresh cut fruit was always there on the table in the good old days.
The Survey calls for widening of the tax base and prioritisation of expenditures. It also recommends increasing diesel and LPG prices, in line with prevailing international prices. It looks as if Chidambaram would present a fiscally prudent Budget tomorrow, says Nomura
The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament by finance minister P Chidambaram paints an optimistic picture of the Indian economy and holds out hope for the future. At least for tomorrow’s budget, the Survey suggests that the government will present a fiscally prudent budget, says Nomura in a research report.
Nomura said, “The survey paints a cautiously optimistic picture of the economy. We expect the government to project a fiscal deficit of 4.6% of GDP in FY14 from 5.3% in FY13”.
The Survey said, “Controlling expenditure on subsidies will be crucial. The domestic prices of petroleum products, particularly diesel and LPG, need to be raised in line with their prices prevailing in the international market.”
Here are Nomura’s key takeaways from the Survey...
Growth has bottomed
The government expects real GDP growth to improve from 5% y-o-y in FY13 (year ending March 2013) to 6.1%-6.7% in FY14, supported by a normal monsoon and a further moderation in inflation, which should create space for further rate cuts. The Survey states that the “downturn is more or less over and the economy is looking up” and that the slowdown has been a “wake-up call for increasing the pace of actions and reforms”. We expect the focus to shift from spending on consumption to investment.
Fiscal consolidation is likely
The Survey states that the government will be able to contain its fiscal deficit at the revised target of 5.3% of GDP in FY13. The Food Security Bill is likely to add to the subsidy burden, but it is necessary from a welfare perspective, and therefore calls for improved targeting of subsidies. To make the medium-term fiscal consolidation plan credible, the Survey calls for widening of the tax base and prioritisation of expenditures. Further, the Survey recommends increasing domestic prices of diesel and LPG, in line with prevailing international prices.
Lower inflation to create space for rate cuts
The Survey states that WPI inflation is likely to moderate further to 6.2%-6.6% y-o-y by March 2013 from 6.6% currently. The Survey also expects moderate global commodity prices in 2013 and 2014 to aid a benign inflation outlook in FY14. The survey recommends curbing demand as an effective tool to reduce inflation in the short run. However, in the long run, it notes that measures to improve supply are the only way to have non-inflationary growth. From a monetary policy perspective, the Survey states that fiscal consolidation, demand compression and augmented agricultural production should lower inflation, giving the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) the flexibility to reduce policy rates. Hence, “a further shift in the policy stance of RBI…would be desirable.”
Gold imports need to be curbed to contain the current account deficit
The Survey states that in the near term the focus has to be on curbing imports, mainly by making oil prices more market-determined and curbing imports of gold. On capital flows, it recommends a greater emphasis on FDI and long-term FII flows. Specifically on external commercial borrowing, the document noted that it needs to be monitored carefully so that entities without access to foreign exchange revenues do not leave significant exposure unhedged.
Here are the highlights of the Economic Survey 2012-13...