The Railways have planned to increase its share of freight traffic under a new marketing strategy. The marketing strategy envisages the high growth path for Railways by expanding, doubling and modernising its network and assets. The other measures include setting up domestic division in Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) to capture long haul non-bulk freight traffic and concessions and adjustments in freight rates. Further measures relate to public-private partnership scheme to attract freight traffic from roadways.
In the Railway Budget 1998-99, a beginning has been made to end annual cross-subsidisation of passenger traffic from the freight earnings by increasing passenger fares worth Rs.400 crores. With this, the total cross subsidisation of passenger traffic valued at Rs.2800 crores will be reduced by Rs.400 crores from June 20, 1998 when the proposed revised fare and adjustment in freight rates come into force.
According to the Planning Commission, share of rail
transport in freight traffic is estimated to be 40 per cent in 1996-97
and in passenger traffic as 20 per cent. This is a matter of concern for
the railways and efforts are on through new marketing strategies and other
financial measures to increase the share of Railways in the freight traffic.
The Railways are six times cost effective compared to roadways and at the
same time it is eco-friendly.
"GRAHAK DOST", a serial on consumer affairs, jointly sponsored by the Department of Consumer Affairs and Doordarshan will be telecast on Doordarshan (DD1) from June 13, 1998. It will be telecast at 1.00 PM every saturday for 12 weeks on the National Network.
The 12 part serial, the "Grahak Dost", the first of its kind, covers many areas of consumer protection such as food adulteration, weights & measures, investment, insurance, telephone, electricity supply, rail and air transport. The serial has been directed by Yogesh Saigal who has also anchored its Hindi version.
Top TV stars like Rameshwari, Suresh Chatwal, Goga Kapoor, MacMohan, Sudhir Dalvi. Sudhir Pandey, Ram Sethi, Yunus Parvez, Jack Gaur, Gavin, Kimti Anand. Kohinoor and Banwari Jhole are in lead roles. Music is given by Usha Khanna and the theme song is by Udit Narayan.
While being informative, the serial also seeks to entertain viewers. Case studies have been dramatised so as to be easily understood by a layman. The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 have been explained in simple language for the easy understanding of the viewers. The series will not only create an awareness among the consumers about their rights and responsibilities but it is also aimed at sharpening their skills and widening their knowledge base so that they can effectively campaign for their rights. The series is intended to help in spreading a strong broad-based consumer movement in the country, particularly in the rural areas.
Apart from this new series on consumer protection,
the Department of Consumer Affairs is already broadcasting a weekly programme
"Apne Adhikar" on the 30 commercial broadcasting stations of AIR in the
regional langugage which is being broadcast on every Sunday at 12.30 PM.
Recently, a decision has been taken to extend its broadcasting to the North-Eastern
Jyasistha 20, 1920 .SP2 Wheat procurement for the central pool has touched 12.21 milion tonnes as on date during the current Rabi Marketing Season, 1998-99. FCI and other government agencies engaged in procurement have managed to procure this quantity out of a total mandi arrival of 12.78 million tonnes. The procurement of wheat during the corresponding date last year stood at 8.76 million tonnes.
Punjab as usual has contributed the maximum to the
central pool with 6.12 million tonnes. Haryana with 3.12 million tonnes
is in the second postion while the contribution of Uttar Pradesh is 1.84
Tourist arrival from European countries has registered impressive growth during first quarter of 1998 about 6 lakh tourists vissited the country during this period. As many as 13,718 tourists arrived from UK Germany, Netherland & Scandinavia to Goa during March. During the quarter visa registeration in Germany & Austria to visit India has registered 19 per cent growth in comparison to corresponding period of previous year. Similar indications are coming from other countries also which shows India is emerging a popular tourist destination in South Asia. This was informed by Minister of State for Tourist Shri Omak Apang in Inter Minister Conference on Ocean & Tourist Dimensions held at Lisban Portugal during the first week of this month.
This conference was organised by World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and Governmegnt of Portugal, and was planned as a part of the last world Export of the 20th Century, Expo '98. The conference took note of the Tourism trends and discussed the tourism Scenario for the year 2000 and beyond. The WTO indicated that the tourist arrivals worlds wide would be 563 million in 1995, 673 million in 2000, 1046 million in 2010 & 1602 million in 2020 million. These volumes reprsent the over all average annual rate of growth of 4.3% between 1995-2020. South Asia is likely to register an increase of 6.2% in the inbound traffic and 5.5% on outbound traffic. The conference also discussed the various ways of increasing ocean related tourism.
In the meet Shri Omak Apang hosted the India Evening for the delegates on 4th June '98. He announced India's plans to welcome the new millennium as "Visit India Year", running through 1999/2000, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of India's Republic. Some of the highlights were special youth and conference packages with cooperation of Air India, Indian Airlines and Ashok Tours & Travels, Khajuraho Festivals of Dances and joint programmes in Sikkim and Darjeeling, comprising the refurbishment of the famous Toy Train with private initiative.
The Minister informed the delegates about the decision
of the new Government to give priority to the development of infrastructure
which includes tourism as an important instrument for economic development
and social change. The new tourism policy will focus on rural and remote
areas, including North East region. Ministerial Conference was followed
by the WTO Executive meet. Shri M P Bezbaurah, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism
participated in the meet.
The Public Enterprises Survey 1996-97, laid in both the Houses of Parliament, contains details of 258 enterprises as on 31.3.1997.
The highlights of the performance of these enterprises are: - Increase in investment in central public enterprises by Rs.15522 crore from Rs.177599 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.193121 crore in 1996-97, an increase of 8.74 per cent. -
Increase in Gross sales by Rs.26452 crore from Rs.226919 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.253371 crore in 1996-97. The growth rate recorded works out to 11.66 per cent in 1996-97 compared to the previous year. -
Gross margin (profit before interest, depreciation and tax) has increased from Rs.40161 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.44501 crore in 1996-97. The growth in gross margin works out to 10.8 per cent. Gross Profit (profit before interest and tax) has increased from Rs.27587 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.30574 crore in 1996-97, thereby registering a growth of 10.8 per cent over the previous year.
Increase in net profit by Rs.684 crore from Rs.9574 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.10258 crore in 1996-97, an increase of 7.14 per cent.
- Gross internal resources generated by Central public enterprises in 1996-97 of Rs.25533 crore is higher by Rs.1335 crore compared to the previous year figure of Rs.24198 crore registering a growth of 5.5 per cent.
- Marginal improvement in export earnings of Central public enterprises from Rs.16269 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.16359 crore in 1996-97.
- Value of inventories in terms of number of days of cost of production/sale has come down to 69 days in 1996-97 as against 70 days in 1995-96.
- Contribution to the exchequer in the form of corporate tax, excise duty, customs and other duties and dividend, etc. has increased by Rs.6959 crore from Rs.30878 crore during 1995-96 to Rs.37447 crore in 1996-97, an increase of 21.27 per cent.
- Expenditure on social overheads has increased by Rs.251 crore from Rs.2618 crore in 1995-96 to Rs.2689 crore in 1996-97.
- Number of houses constructed (including those under construction) has increased from 9.11 lakhs in 1995-96 to 9.15 lakhs in 1996-97.
- Number of regular employees decreased from 20.52
lakhs in 1995-96 to 19.78 lakhs in 1996-97. .
The Government has fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) at 455 per quintal for wheat for the 1997-98 crop year to be marketed in 1998-99 on the basis of the report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the views of the State Governments, concerned Central Ministries and other relevant factors. Further the Government decided to pay a bonus of Rs. 35 per quintal on the sale of wheat to public agencies for the period 1st April to 10th June 1998.
The Government has already fixed the MSP of paddy
for the 1997-98 season, at Rs. 415 per quintal for common paddy and Rs.
445 for Grade `A' paddy. There is no proposal to increase the MSP of paddy
already announced for the 1997-98 season since the MSP for the next season
(1998-99) is already under consideration of the Government. This information
was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Shri Sompal in a written
reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.