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Indian Railways gets Rs 1.5 lakh crore boost from LIC

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

In what is described by the railway ministry as “one of the largest funding for the Indian Railways”,  Life Insurance Corp (LIC) committed Rs.150,000 crore to Indian Railways for development of various commercially viable projects.

The investment will be done in bonds, over a period of five years. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the finance and the railway ministry.

On the occasion, railways minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that the investment will make Indian Railways prosper in the future, encouraging initiatives and lead to speedier execution of projects.

Speaking on the occasion, the Railway Minister said that this is the first such step in its endeavour to make Indian Railways prosperous in the future. He said that with such encouraging initiatives, the Ministry of Railways will be able to augment its resources for speedier execution of projects. Prabhu said that the resultant enhanced throughput of traffic is likely to further increase the capacity to carry more to meet with a growing transportation demand leading to a robust economy.

Under this MoU, LIC will make available to the Ministry of Railways/its entities a Financial Assistance with a limit of 1,50,000 crore over the next five years for implementing Railway projects. The Financial Assistance will be available from the Financial Year 2015-16. In his Budget Speech, Shri Suresh Prabhu had announced his intention of meeting a part of the total Plan Budget of Rs 1,00,011 crore for the financial year 2015-16, through extra budgetary resources, such as market borrowings by tapping low cost long term funds. The challenge has been successfully met in a substantial measure by the signing of this MoU for mobilising resources.

There would be a five-year moratorium on interest and loan repayment and the rest of the terms would be negotiated while signing the finance assistance agreement.

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Reliance Communications (RCOM) forms Agreement with Veecon Media, Sells Reliance Big TV

Reliance Communications formed a MOU with Veecon Media and Television Ltd to sell off its subsidiary Reliance BIG TV Ltd (RBTV) and its entire shareholdings

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Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications sold off its subsidiary RBTV to Veecon Media. Wikimedia.

New Delhi, Nov 6: Reliance Communications (RCOM) on Monday entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding with Veecon Media and Television Limited, for sale of its subsidiary Reliance BIG TV Limited (RBTV), engaged in the business of Direct to Home (DTH) services across India, a company statement said here.

Pursuant to the transaction, the buyer will acquire the entire shareholding of RBTV with business on “as-is where-is” basis, along with all existing trade liabilities and contingent liabilities, the statement said.

The existing DTH licence of BIG TV shall be renewed with the submission of the required bank guarantees with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting by the buyer.

Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications (RCOM) forms Agreement with Veecon Media. IANS.

The transaction ensures that all existing 1.2 million customers of RBTV shall continue to enjoy uninterrupted services. It also ensures the continuity of employment for approximately 500 employees of RBTV.

The transaction will help reduce the liability of unsecured creditors, benefitting all stakeholders including lenders and shareholders of Reliance Communications. The transaction is in consonance with the Reliance Communication’s stated objective to focus on B2B businesses of new Reliance Communications, the statement said.

The culmination of the transaction is subject to the requisite approvals from licensors, regulatory authorities and lenders of Reliance Communications. (IANS)

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Assam Government signs a MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity

It will provide Internet connections to 26,000 villages and 1,500 tea garden areas in Assam

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Assam Government has signed MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity
Assam Government has signed MoU with Google India to expand Internet Connectivity. Pixabay

Guwahati, Assam, September 8, 2017: The Assam government on Thursday signed a MoU with Google India to take Internet connectivity to the remotest part of the north-eastern state.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the government would work to provide Internet connections to 26,000 villages and 1,500 tea garden areas in Assam under the MoU and thus increase digital literacy.

Information Technology Secretary Nitin Khare and Google India Country Head (Policy) Chetan Krishnaswami signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Sonowal.

“Technology rules the roost in the 21st century and the state government has upped the ante to use technology to carry forward the fruits of development to the remotest parts of Assam,” the Chief Minister said.

He said the ties with Google was a way forward to strongly pitch Guwahati as a natural gateway to the South-East Asian countries.

Sonowal said his government in sync with the Centre was working for the success of Startup initiative but the success of such programmes sans technology would be a distant dream.

“The MoU will be used as a launchpad to achieve the state government’s vision of women empowerment, skill development, and universal education,” he said.

The Chief Minister asked the Information Technology Department to take steps to make technology acceptable and favourable among the rural populace so as to catalyse rural development. (IANS)

 

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Indian Railways Are No More Popular Mode of Transport in India

Airlines are soon to replace railways as a popular mode of conveyance as the number of passengers traveling via air will exceed the AC passengers in 2019-2020

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Indian Railways
Indian Railways. Wikimedia Commons
  • Indian Railways get aggressive competition from Airways, as Airways to become popular mode of transportation in 2019-2020
  • Augmenting the pricing and capacity can save the downfall of Indian Railways
  • Indian Railways fares not as unfair as people make them out to be

New Delhi, August 03, 2017: Reportedly, the aviation sector is said to grow in 2019-2020 as the Indian Railways prices continue surging. Recently in a blueprint laid out by Indian Railway, it was mentioned that the number of passengers traveling by air would exceed AC-class passengers in 2019-20.

Indian railways and domestic airlines carried about 145 million and 97.8 million passengers respectively between December 2015 and November 2016. With a projected 20% growth in air passengers and 5% growth in rail AC-class passengers between December 2015-November 2016 and 2019-20, it is estimated that air passengers will outnumber rail AC-class passengers soon.

As the Indian railways surged the price on the base fares of Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Dhuranto trains last year giving leverage to the aviation sector. The base fare of these railways was raised on the basis of selling capacity as recommended on Railway Board formula, the base fares would increase by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of train berths sold.

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While the railway’s fares went remarkably high, Air India announced that the last minute fares won’t be raised making the last minute booking before take-offs at par with AC rail fare. All the airlines have followed similar fare patterns and therefore reducing airfares, the shift of 2AC and 1AC rail passengers to Airlines have increased remarkably since. Leading to this alarming state of affairs for Indian Railways, 3AC still remain unaffected because even the Tatkal bookings are lower than the last minute air fares.

Can Indian Railways still beat the growing Airline Traffic? Click To Tweet

The two factors by which Indian Railways can still gain traction and recovery by 2020 are through augmenting capacity and pricing. Although Indian railway has been leveraging its track capacity at a rate of 7km per day since 2015, it cannot be augmented to a level that can stop the growing aviation sector from mangling the rail AC passenger segment by 2019-20. Hence, Indian railways can hardly do anything till 2020 when both dedicated freight corridors are commissioned, relieving sizeable capacity for railways.

Pricing and travel time, are two most important factors that can affect the passenger segment of Indian railways. Talking about pricing, the railway pricing is not as simplistic as it is made out to be. The costing of air carriers are significantly more than 1AC/2AC rail and considering that more than half air tickets are sold within two weeks the departure, despite the flexi-rates, there is a huge difference between the railways and air fares. However, the air fare for tickets that were booked at least two weeks before the travel day may be in the range of 1AC/2AC rail fares. Taking the price factor in regard Indian Railways are doing well and should have no concerns on this front.

Also Read: “Better than London” free WiFi on Indian Railways stations! RailTel and Google are making it happen at 400 locations

While travel time is of the essence to the passengers and not the authorities, and the only alternative to combat the huge difference of time saved in airlines compared to railways, should not be bullet trains. While major routes like Delhi-Bombay have access to electric tracks and serve under “A” category of railways, they still need to up the speed of express trains which run at the maximum speed of 160kmph/130kmph. The speed of these trains can be increased up to 110kmph which 80% of the maximum speed, there will be a lot of time that could be saved benefiting the 6PM-8AM trains which do not enter the slab of productive hours.

Indian railways can tweak their options to gain the leverage over the aviation sector, which is said to overtake in 2019-2020.

-Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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