Opinions on Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s Railway Budget 2013 may differ from person to person, but on a closer look, he has presented a good budget considering the current financial situation of the Indian Railways and the forthcoming elections next year.In fact, Bansal has taken a few praiseworthy steps towards narrowing down the deficit gap in the struggling Indian Railways without disappointing the common man and at the same time appeasing the industrial sector.Many may questioned if Bansal’s Railway Budget 2013 was too financial discipline and avoided taking bold steps, including hiking passenger fare, keeping in mind next year’s elections and not to disappoint the public who were irked by rail fare hike last month. He is also been criticized for introducing lesser new rail lines compared to previous years.But on a closer look, Bansal has cleverly hiked the passenger fares, though indirectly, and would do so in the future though he abstained from increasing the figure in his budget. The public will indirectly pay more through ticket cancellation, clerkage and tatkal charges. Supplementary charges for super fast trains have also been marginally raised. The cost of travelling on train too may go up as the railway minister hinted a possible annual hike of 5 percent for various kinds of services.The public may also have to pay more in the future depending on the flatuating fuel price as the government is implementing Fuel Adjustment Component (FAC) linked revision for freight tariff from 1st April 2013. The railway minister said that the move could increase the cost of commodities by 4-8 paise per kg but additional revenue to the Railways will be around ₹4,200 crore.Bansal’s Railway Budget has many positive things that his predecesors didn’t think of. The announcement that a loan of ₹3,000 cr taken in 2011-12 has been fully repaid along with interest should come as a welcomed move. He also promised that the Railways will make profit by the end of the financial year.He announced the Indian Railways will set up an exclusive Centralized Training Institute at Secunderabad – Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM), indicating his long-term plan for the Railways.Bansal’s Railway Budget will also please investors, as much modernization projects of the railways will be done through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) route. Target of ₹1000 crore each fixed for Rail Land Development Authority and IR Station Development Corporation to be raised through PPP in 2013-14. Of the planned investment of Rs 63,363 crore for the financial year, ₹6000 crore will be under PPP mode.Many may not be happy for not introducing many new rail lines as expected but several measures announced in the budget like – safety, cleanliness and hygiene, special provision for women passengers and differently abled persons, introduction of Train Protection Warning System on Automatic Signalling Systems, elimination of 10797 level crossings to curb accidents, introduction of Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains, introduction of next-gen e-ticketing system that can handle 7200 tickets per minute as against the present 2000, and several others are necessary and will help the Railways in the long run.Bansal’s Railway Budget 2013 should be considered as a clever one.
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Vijay Sethupathi in Super Deluxe.PR HandoutVijay Sethupathi’s latest movie Super Deluxe has been hit by piracy. The full movie with different qualities has surfaced on torrent sites on the day the film hit the screens.Super Deluxe is a thriller which is directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. Apart from Vijay Sethupathi, the cast comprises of Samantha, Fahadh Faasil, Ramya Krishnan, Mysskin, Bagavathi Perumal among many others.The movie marks the return of Thiagarajan Kumararaja to direction after Aaranya Kaandam, released eight years ago. His Super Deluxe, like his first movie, has a strong screenplay backed by fantastic performances from the cast.With highly positive reviews coming its way, trade trackers were hoping that Super Deluxe would strike gold at the box office, but it has to be seen how much does the piracy impact on its collection.Rajinikanth’s Petta and 2.0, Ajith Kumar’s Viswasam and all the biggies had hit the internet hours after the first show in foreign countries.Every film made in Kollywood these days is being made available on torrent sites within a matter of days. Big movies hit the web faster than small-budget films as the craze around such flicks is high. Although the film industry and the central government’s Department of Telecommunications have severe measures in place to curb such malpractices, movies are making their way to the Internet some way or the other. Last year, Tamil Rockers and a few others associated with the notorious piracy website were arrested in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. But it has not put an end to its activities as new movies continue to appear in the torrent site.
Map showing Shaanxi province in China where a bus crashed Thursday night leaving at least 36 people killed. AFP At least 36 people were killed and 13 injured when a packed bus slammed into a tunnel wall on an expressway in northern China, state media said Friday.The coach crashed in Qinling tunnel in Shaanxi province on Thursday night, according to Xinhua news agency, which cited local authorities.The bus had departed from Chengdu in southwest Sichuan province en route to the central city of Luoyang.The injured have been rushed to hospital, Xinhua said. According to Sina news website, the bus had a 51-passenger capacity and was carrying 49 people, including two children.Sichuan province is already reeling from another tragedy as 20 people were killed and hundreds more injured in an earthquake that struck the region on Tuesday night.Deadly road accidents are common in China, where traffic regulations are often flouted or go unenforced by police.The country’s frequently overcrowded long-distance buses are particularly prone to fatalities.There were more than 180,000 traffic accidents and 58,000 deaths in 2015, authorities said in December.Traffic law violations caused almost 90 percent of the road accidents where people died or were injured in 2015, with the total number of such infractions reaching an astonishing 442 million.Last month, 11 people died and nine were injured when a bus carrying 19 people collided with a lorry on a national highway in northern Hebei province.Ten people were killed and 38 injured in March when a bus collided with a cement truck in the southwestern province of Yunnan.At least 18 people were killed when a minibus plunged into a lake in the central city of Wuhan in December.Last November, a pile-up on an expressway in the northern province of Shanxi killed 17 people and damaged 56 vehicles.And in July last year, a coach crashed through a highway guard rail and plunged into a canal near the northern city of Tianjin, killing 26.