New announcements every year is what rail passengers from Mumbai feels on the Rail Budget. However, they keep wondering about what happened to last year’s announcements
Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, announcing his maiden railway budget, made a host of promises for Mumbai. Additional 75 train services, elevated corridors from Churchgate to Virar on the Western Line, 12-coach rakes for the Harbour Line were among the prominent ones. Experts, however, have lambasted the minister for ignoring and not updating on the slew of promises made last year by his party chief and the then minister Mamata Banerjee. They called it a “disappointing budget” for Mumbai.
“The minister neither gave any update on the last year’s promised projects nor the balance sheet. He made new announcements. This year 75 new train services are promised for the suburban section. But is there any rake available? Out of 32 additional trains promised last year, for the Central line, only two have started. There is no announcement on safety measures like giving compensation to victims of local train accidents. He talked about development of stations through PPP (public-private partnership). This promise was made last year, as well. Even there is no rationale behind fare hike. Thankfully local commuters won’t be much affected by the hike,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.
“There were promises of running anti-collision device on three grounds, a bullet train to Baroda, Gujarat. What happened to these promises?” he asked.
Passenger fares have been increased by 2 paise per km for suburban and ordinary second class; 3 paise per km for mail/express second class; 5 paise per km for sleeper class; 10 paise per km for AC Chair Car, AC 3 tier and First Class; 15 paise per km for AC 2 tier and 30 paise per km for AC I. Minimum fare and platform tickets will now cost Rs5.
Subhash Gupta, president, Yatri Sangh Mumbai told Moneylife that, “What is the use of hiking train fares when a little revenue will be generated from it. The minister announced some projects which are good for Mumbai. But the bigger question of implementing all the projects remains unanswered. Last year, the minister announced that the ministry will form a committee to look after implementation of various projects. This year, he did not mention anything about it.”
Passenger associations have, however welcomed the announcement of developing a new coach complex near Panvel in Navi Mumbai and coach maintenance complex at Kalamboli.
Mumbai-based transport experts feel that the essential requirements of Mumbai’s train commuters are not covered in the budget. “Considering the commuter population of Mumbai, the budget should have adequate allocation for providing escalators for commuters, quick disbursement from the station, medical assistance for victims of train accidents within three minutes of the occurrence of such an event and raising the platform height at par with the coach and platform for easy boarding. Nothing was mentioned about these things in the budget,” Sudhir Badami, a transport export told Moneylife.
Short-term movement will be sideways for now
On Tuesday, foreign institutional investors were net buyers for third day in a row, while domestic institutional investors changed to net sellers. All the Asian indices opened in the positive today on the back of positive news from the US; where the retail sales topped expectations, the Federal Reserve left interest-rates at record lows and most of the largest US banks passed their annual stress test. We had mentioned in our yesterday’s closing report that the Nifty may reach the level of 5,495 and further to 5,610. Today the index crossed the first resistance. However, we may now see a sideways move. The NSE saw a volume of 86.11 crore shares, the highest since 6 March 2012.
Fitch Ratings on Tuesday upgraded Greece's credit rating from restricted default to B-minus with a stable outlook following the completion of the country’s debt swap with private investors.
The Sensex and the Nifty opened in the positive and in the first hour itself hit their intraday highs. The Sensex opened at 18,003 while Nifty resumed trade at 5,491. The Sensex’s intraday high was 18,041 while the Nifty touched 5,499. The highs were their best since 24 February 2012.
However, soon the market started a downward journey with the benchmarks hitting their day’s lows of 17,837 and 5,438 after the latest data showed inflation rising at a faster-than-expected 6.95% in February 2012. The benchmarks gained some strength after railway minister Dinesh Trivedi presented the Railway Budget 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha.
Both the Sensex and the Nifty closed in positive. The Sensex rose 106 points (0.59%) to close at 17,919 while Nifty rose 34 points (0.63%) to settle at 5,464.
The wholesale price index (WPI) rose a faster-than-expected 6.95% in February from a year earlier, mainly driven by a surge in food prices, government data showed on Wednesday. The annual reading for December 2011 was revised upwards to 7.74% from 7.47%. WPI inflation stood at 6.55% in January 2012.
Train fares have been hiked for the first time in eight years. The railway budget stressed more on the safety aspect along with focusing on issues of consolidation, de-congestion and capacity augmentation, modernisation and bringing down operating ratio. According to the minister, Indian Railways will invest Rs 7.35 lakh crore during the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), against Rs 1.92 lakh crore in the current one. The railways also plans to recruit about 100,000 people in the 2012-13 fiscal year
Shares of companies linked to orders from Indian Railways were: BEML (up 0.90%), Hind Rectifiers (rose 0.53%), Titagarh Wagons (down 4.25%), Kalindee Rail Nirman (down 6.55%), Container Corporation of India (down 1.49%), Kernex Microsystems (down 5.19%), Simplex Casting (down 3.97%), and Texmaco (down 0.50%)
All eyes are now set for mid-quarterly review of monetary policy tomorrow. The bankers are mixed in their views with most of them opining that after having cut cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 0.75 percentage points last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may not do much. While others feel that it is time for RBI to cut policy rate so that growth can be propped up which is on the path of moderation.
Last week, the RBI slashed CRR, the percentage of deposits that banks have to keep with the RBI, from 5.5% to 4.75%. With this, the central bank had infused Rs 48,000 crore into the economy.
All Asian indices, except for Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng closed in the positive on Wednesday. At the time of writing, all the European indices were trading in the positive, while the Dow futures and the S&P 500 futures were trading at a premium.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was at 797:903.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.32% and the BSE Small-cap index fell 0.28%.
Among the sectoral indices BSE Bankex led (up 1.83%). Others among the top five positive performers were BSE Capital Goods (up 1.60%), BSE PSU (up 1.38%), BSE Power (up 1.05%) and BSE FMCG (up 0.90%). While BSE Realty was at bottom (fell 0.96%). Others at the losing end were BSE IT (fell 0.67%), BSE TECk (fell 0.51%), BSE Consumer Durables (fell 0.19%), BSE Metal ( fell 0.10%)
NTPC (up 2.63%); ICICI Bank (up 2.61%); Larsen & Toubro (up 2.47%); ONGC (up 2.21%) and Tata Motors (up 2.19%) were the top gainers on the Sensex. The major losers were TCS (down 3.56%); Wipro (down 1.41%); Tata Steel (down 1.10%); Jindal Steel (down 1.06%) and Bajaj Auto (down 0.93%).
The top performers on the Nifty were PNB (up 5.62%); BPCL (up 3.15%); NTPC (up 2.74%); Axis Bank (up 2.71%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 2.70%). The main laggards were TCS (down 3.76%); Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.17%); Reliance Communications (down 1.60%), Tata Steel (down 1.41%) and DLF (down 1.25%).
IL&FS Transportation Networks has bagged a road project from National Highways Authority of India in West Bengal and Odisha estimated to cost about Rs 471.05 crore. The project is on toll basis with a concession period of 24 years including construction period of 2.5 years and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 471.05 crore. The project is for construction of new bridges, structures and repair of the National Highway (NH-60) stretch between West Bengal and Odisha, it added. Besides, the project also involves operations and maintenance of the existing four-lane highway under National Highways Development Programme phase-I from Kharagpur in West Bengal to Baleshwar in Odisha. The stock closed at Rs 195.35 on the BSE, up 1.88%.
Liases Foras’ December quarter figures show at the current rate of sales, Mumbai builders will need 44 months to clear their inventories
While other cities are seeing increased sales of residential units, buyers in Mumbai are scarce. The latest data released by Liases Foras on the December 2011 quarter shows that Mumbai has seen a 30% year-on-year decline in sales, while NCR, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have all recorded growth.
Yet, Mumbai, along with NCR, has seen a price rise of 25% year-on-year, the highest in India. Among six cities Mumbai has fared the worst with a “sales velocity” of 1.26%. Sales velocity refers to the rate of property offtake.
At the present rate, the city will need 44 months to clear unsold inventory of 112million square feet of area. Mumbai is also the costliest, with the average price of a flat now being Rs1.09 crore, where the price per square feet of area is Rs10,559 on an average.
Compare that to the prices in other cities: in NCR, total cost is Rs52 lakh at Rs3,395/sq ft, Rs45 lakh for Pune at Rs3,860/sq ft, Rs68 lakh at Rs3,859/sq ft, Rs56 lakh for Hyderabad at Rs3144/sq ft and Rs47.29 lakh for Chennai at Rs3,826/sq ft.
Even during the September 2011 quarter, Mumbai’s flats cost Rs10,021/sq ft, while other cities were lagging far behind.
Pankaj Kapoor, MD, Liases Foras, said, “The Mumbai market is in a confused state. Builders’ plans about FSI, etc, have gone for a toss after the new DCR came in. They have to get new plans. We are seeing many projects in the central and western suburbs are getting stalled. The prices have peaked, inventory pile up is huge. It is the most inefficient market.”
While Delhi-NCR has 232 million square feet of unsold space, it will require 31 months to clear the inventory. NCR has a sales velocity of 1.62%. Mumbai sold only 8 million square feet of area in the December quarter, which was worth Rs5,337 crore. In terms of sales velocity, Pune is the most efficient market, with 3.13%, while Chennai comes next with a velocity of 3.02%.
However, Bengaluru has shown an astonishing 106% increase in year-on-year sales, which may have come on the back of new infrastructure projects. “Bangalore must be approached with caution, because while sales are increasing, so is the inventory. Also, we are seeing launch of luxury projects, which may indicate a potential speculative market,” said Mr Kapoor.
Political happenings seems to have taken a toll on Hyderabad’s sales, which saw a 21% decline quarter-on-quarter, but Mr Kapoor says that it is an efficient market where existing inventory is getting depleted while new launches are not taking place.