The Ministry of Railways has formulated a five-point action plan to make railway freight rates competitive with the roadways. The action plan has been launched in the current financial year. The action plan relates to reduction in classification of iron and steel, gypsum (lumps and powder), limestone and dolomite, revision in taper of cement, coal iron and steel to provide relief to long distance traffic, no increase in freight charges, quoting reduced station to station rates for specific commodities and creation of a separate domestic division in the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) to make a major attempt to get less than train load, non-bulk traffic from road to rail by using the multi-modal containerisation route.
Besides, for the first time a bold step has been
taken by the Government to reduce the cross-subsidisation of passenger
traffic from freight earnings by Rs.400 crores. During 1997-98, the total
cross-subsidisation of passenger traffic was of the order of Rs.2800 crores.
Railways have taken steps to rationalise freight rates to increase revenue
. Studies of antarctic meteorology aims at building a climatological data set for application in the prediction and forecast of the India monsoons. . Studies on ozone hole and other trace gases help understand its influence over the climatic pattern of the Southern Indian Ocean.
. Studies on auroral phenomenon and geo-magnetic storms have yielded valuable insights to solar terrestrial physics of the outer space.
. Geological mapping of hitherto unmapped areas of Schirmacher Oasis and Wolhthat mountains has helped to understand the geological evolution of this area and its co-relation in the reconstruction of the Gondwanaland.
. It studies on human adaptations in cold and extreme conditions and its application to the frontier regions of the country. . It helps identify Antarctic microbes and its application for human and organic waste degradation in cold regions of Himalayas.
. Technology transfer on a commecial basis as a spin-off of the SODAR instrument developed in Antarctica for studying inland environmental pollution.
. Research and development in cold temperature technology in designing prototype toilet incinerators, generators and low temperature structures used in Antarctica has been deployed in colder regions of the country.
. Availability of trained manpower pool to work in extreme cold, harsh and isolated conditions have been generated from expeditions.
. The Indian Navy and Air force by virtue of their
participation in the expeditions have gained professional expertise of
the highest order in snow-ice navigation under adverse climatic conditions.
The Government has restricted the use of indigenous expeller mustard/rapeseed oil in manufacture of vanaspati upto 10% with effect from June 15, 1998. This step has been taken as a measure to stablise the edible oil prices at a reasonable level.
It has been observed by the Department that two major
factors contributed to the somewhat steep price in edible oil prices during
the last two to three months. The mustrad crop in the rabi season is estimated
to be approximately 10% less than anticipated earlier. The import of edible
oils under OGL which was part of the `demand management'strategy had slowed
down in the recent past on account of increase in international oil prices.
This in turn was the result of financial instablity and civil unrest in
Indonesia, one of the major oil supplier in the international market. The
progressive hardening of dollar has also played a role in increasing the
landed cost of imported oil.