No hike in fares, freight rates in Rail Budget

Railway minister Mamata Banerjee proposes no increase in passenger fares and freight rates, reduces tariffs for transportation of key items

The Railway Budget for 2010-11 unveiled today proposed no increase in passenger fares and freight rates while reducing the tariff by Rs100 per wagon for transportation of foodgrains, kerosene and fertilisers to tackle the price rise, reports PTI.

The Budget, presented by railway minister Mamata Banerjee in the Lok Sabha, also proposed to reduce the maximum limit of service charge on e-booking of tickets to Rs10 for sleeper class and Rs20 for AC class. The present maximum charge is Rs15 and Rs40, respectively.

This is the seventh year in a row that passenger fares have not been raised.

Announcing a slew of concessions for passengers, Ms Banerjee proposed free travel for cancer patients going for treatment in three-tier AC and sleeper class and continuance of concessions for students of madrassas and journalists.

The minister said 101 new suburban services will be introduced in Mumbai and more services will be launched in Kolkata and Chennai.

A special train, named 'Sanskriti Express', to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore will run across the country and also to Bangladesh.

Special tourist trains called 'Bharat Teerth' will be started on 16 routes while six long-distance non-stop Duronto Express and four short-distance Duronto day trains will be introduced, the railway minister said.

The Budget estimates for 2010-11 pegs the freight loading target at 944 million tonnes, an increase of 54 million tonnes over the current year's revised estimates. Passenger traffic is likely to grow by 5.3%.

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    SBI needs to raise Rs40,000 crore in five years, says Bhatt

    Chairman of India’s largest lender says Bank will raise up to Rs20,000 crore in the next fiscal, through a rights issue

    India's premier bank, State Bank of India (SBI), needs to raise around Rs40,000 crore of capital over the next five-years and this would be done through a rights issue, a top bank official told reporters.

    "In the next five-years, we need to raise somewhere around Rs 40,000-crore. This is in addition to Tier II capital and in addition to retail earnings which account for Tier I capital," SBI chairman OP Bhatt told reporters here.

    This number would, however, keep changing depending upon requirements, especially of the bank's subsidiaries, Mr Bhatt said.

    Of the Rs 40,000-crore, the public sector lender is looking at raising up to Rs20,000-crore in the next fiscal.

    "In the next financial year, we are looking at a ceiling of around Rs 20,000-crore—it could be anywhere between Rs 10,000-20,000-crore," he said.

    Though the bank is fairly well-capitalised at 14% plus, "we always look at a slightly longer-term horizon of five years," Mr Bhatt said.

    The bank will keep updating its capital requirement for the next five years, after every quarter or six-month period, he said.

    The bank would raise funds at an opportune time depending upon market conditions and requirements of its subsidiaries, especially its insurance arm which is unlisted, he said.

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    “My early experience with Hindi cinema was bad. Either I didn't enjoy the kind of films I edited or never got paid”

    Raju Hirani is a hotshot director today, having created three hits in a row. But he started in Hindi films on the wrong foot. For his early work in feature films he hardly got paid and he had drifted into making ad films, where he was doing fine, explains Hirani. This is the third part of a three-part interview series.

    ML: How did you come into Hindi films?
    After coming to Mumbai in the early ‘90s and struggling to find a place, I joined Ekta videos as an in-house editor. The job was to assist those who came to get editing done but did not have an editor. People used to come to the studio with their own editor, but, if they didn’t have an editor, they had the option of using an in-house editor. At other times, I would manage the place, do the bookings, etc. I joined there for Rs1,200. But that was a turning point for me, because I met a lot of people who would come in wanting their work edited and I would do it. Very quickly, I started to get work independently and quit the place in six months and became a freelancer. For the next five years, I had no dearth of work—I edited a couple of feature films.

    ML: How was your experience?
    My experience with cinema was not very good. Either I didn't enjoy the kind of films I edited or never got paid for the work I did.

    ML: Never got paid?
    Two got stuck and were never released. One was made by a senior student and we were very passionately involved in it. He said he would give me Rs40,000 for the film, which was not huge, but we did it. When it was ready, nobody bought the film and he was planning to release it himself. He asked me if I knew anyone who would give him Rs2 lakh-Rs3 lakh; he would return it in a month after the film was released. I asked around, but nobody had the money. I had Rs60,000 in the bank, and I said, I would give him Rs50,000 and he could return it after a month. I never saw that money either. That was, of course, a sad case. The guy went into debt, borrowed even more and, finally, he died. So there were two films that I was involved with—one had Salman Khan and Raveena called ‘Pathar ke Phool’ and another with Suchitra Krishnamurthy and Rahul Roy, their debut film, which didn't work out. So I realised that films were not happening. After that I started doing ad films with Piyush Pandey, Leena Bakshi, Dilip Ghosh and others who were rather new to advertising. I gelled with that group and enjoyed the kind of work they were doing and, unknowingly, I drifted into advertising. This must have been 1991-92. Initially, I was editing; then they started giving me audio-visuals to edit; and then, small films.

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