Laloo Prasad Yadav, India’s Railway Minister presented his budget today in the parliament, and as expected from previous budgets, this was yet another populist one. With loads of goodies, to all classes of passengers, goods carriers and the railway staff; Laloo hit a U – Turn on inflation, by slashing the passenger fares across sections along with many other initiatives. Although the Centre was bombarded with the Bofor’s accusations, Laloo did not let the opposition derail his train. According to an IBNlive.com report,
He said that people like Quattrocchi come and go, but important legislative business should not be disrupted.
And so went on the Budget, with Laloo, proving the theory wrong that only privatization can bring in a change in railways profit, announced that the Railways has had a profit of over 20 thousand crores, and denied that there was a need for privatisation.
In the budget, Lalu Prasad claimed a cash surplus of Rs.20, 000 crore before dividend and a record-breaking performance in the first nine months of the current year. The annual plan for 2007-08 has been fixed at Rs 31,000 crore. This includes budgetary support of Rs 7,611 crore, internal generation of Rs 17,323 crore and extra-budgetary resources of Rs 5,740 crore.
Not just the masses, but also India, Inc was content with the budget, as Laloo slashed Freight charges by 5% for diesel and petrol and 6% reduction in all minerals, including iron ore and limestone. Laloo’s other offerings on the budget included 32 new trains, 8 new Garib Raths, Special coaches for the disabled, reservation of lower berths to women and senior citizens and concession of upto 50% for UPSC candidates. e-Tickets bookings shall be made available at ATMs and Petrol pump stations. Laloo, also announced a new Enquiry No (139), and said that a call centre shall be set up for the railways. Apart from this he has also announced increase in the no of boogies in both unreserved class, inclusion of CCTVs across sensitive station and up gradation of stations across the country.
Year 2007-08, has been christened as the ‘Year of Cleanliness’ by the Railway Minister.
Did you hear that Mr. Chidambaram, Your next!