Saturday, February 26, 2011

Railway Budget 2011: where is the money?


New Delhi: Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "Its been a tough year... But because of 6th Pay Commission there has been a problem." This is an easy excuse for the bad state of Indian Railways. The fact is Railways is losing money.
Railways lost Rs 1500 crore because of disruption of train movements due to various agitations. Another Rs 2500 crore is lost due to ban on export of iron ore.
This meant that Railways missed the freight target by 20 million tonnes. Revenues are shrinking but working expenses are going up. Expenses went up by over Rs 2000 crore and stood at Rs 67,000 crore.
Their operating ratio was at 92.1 per cent, which meant that Indian Railways is increasingly an inefficient transporter.
But the ministry says the 6th Pay Commission is the villain. Railway experts beg to differ.
Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahai said, "Railways performance stabilised after 5th Pay Commission. Fifth commission affect felt later 1999-2001 but we stabilised. We have surplus over expenditure. Pension fund Rs 15000 crore more than budget of several states."
If the finances are so bad they why make new announcements. Experts say a populist politician in the Rail Ministry is a bad idea.
Another populist budget, new trains new schemes but where will the money come from to implement these. Mamata Banerjee could well be out of the ministry in a next few months leaving behind financial managers to manage the numbers.

Recruitment drive at Tihar Jail for inmates


New Delhi: A job interview in progress but not at a job fair but at Tihar Jail in Delhi.
A 29-year-old graduate and pharmaceutical company manager was sent to jail three years ago on charges of kidnapping and murder. Siddharth Jailtey, father of a four-year-old then took up a masters course in Public Administration from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) while in jail.
He is now due for release within six months. And on Friday, he was given an appointment letter by Agrawal Movers and Packers as a marketing executive.
Tihar Inmate Siddharth Jaitley said, "When I landed in jail I was in trauma and depression and everything was ruined for me. But, now due to this campus interview there is a ray of hope that whenever I get out I can earn my livelihood easily."
Gaurav Sharma, who has an engineering degree is hopeful he too will get lucky. He has applied for technical positions at some of the 15 companies who came to Tihar Jail to recruit under-trials and convicts who are due to be released within a year.
Jail authorities here tell us that this initiative is the first of its kind in the country and they are planning to make this an annual affair.
DG Prison, Tihar Jail, Neeraj Kumar said, "For the first time we are vouching to the corporate houses for the integrity and the good conduct of these people."
All the 15 companies that came to look for potential managers and executives at Asia's largest prison say these prisoners deserve a second chance.
Oriental Bank of Commerce official GK Agrawal said, "If given a chance, I feel they will do better than people who are not criminals because they have to prove themselves and with this mentality they can do wonders."
For people like Siddharth and Gaurav who were wondering how they would support their families once they were released, this has given them them the hope of taking a fresh shot at life.

How to get your Unique Identification Number?


New Delhi: The new Unique Identification (UID) number could bring an end to all your ID proof problems. Six hundred million people are expected to get a unique ID number over the next two years. CNN-IBN tells you how to obtain a UID number.
First step for getting a UID number is a fingerprint scan of all the fingers. Next, you need to gaze into an optical device which records the unique iris patterns in the eye. Then, it's time for a mug-shot with a normal web camera. Finally, the officials take down your name, age, address and ask for proofs to back those details up.
You can chose among several options for proof of address. “Any one of telephone bill, electricity bill, voter ID card, bank statement, a pass book, passport et al can be used proof of address,” informed Manoj Banerjee, Vice President, Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System.
“If you have ink stains on your fingers, we'll request you to wipe them off. If you wear contacts or spectacles, you'll have to take them off. For cataract patients getting an iris scan could be a problem but we have a way to work around that,” said Ashish Chatterjee, Sr Manager, Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System.
Even though the entire process is completed in just 10 minutes, it takes around 45 days to receive the UID number. And it comes in the old fashioned way – in a letter delivered by the postman.
Starting mid March, kiosks will be set up in schools, community halls and ration shops in Delhi, where people can register themselves for getting UIDs. Getting a UID number is not compulsory as yet, but in a few years government offices and banks could ask for it before offering services.

Arrested NALCO chief faces hearing today


New Delhi: AK Srivastava, the chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO), and his wife who were arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting bribe will be produced before a special court on Saturday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Srivastava, his wife Chandni Srivastava, along with two accomplices, Bhushan Lal Bajaj and Anita Bajaj, for accepting bribe.
"All the four will be produced before the CBI special court today (Saturday) at Patiala House," a senior CBI official said.
AK srivastava
The CBI arrested Srivastava when his wife was accepting an illegal gratification of three gold bricks, each weighing one kg, of 24 carat gold. His wife was accepting the bribe from the wife of a middleman who was brokering a deal between the CMD and a Madhya Pradesh-based private company, the CBI said in a statement on Friday night.
At the time of the CBI raid, Srivastava's wife, accompanied by the wife of the middleman, had just deposited the three gold bricks in a bank locker of the Bank of Maharashtra in the national capital.
The bank locker was in the name of the wife of the middleman. It was being operated by Srivastava's wife "as benami".
A search of the locker revealed seven more gold bricks of 1 kg each, golden ornaments weighing 188 grams and Indian currency of Rs 9.5 lakh. A search of Srivastava's wife led to the recovery of Rs 5 lakh from her handbag and the key of another locker in the name of the wife of the middleman.

A recycled aircraft?

bi plane

A Chinese automobile mechanic has designed an aircraft that weights about 130 kg and is made of recycled materials including three motorbike engines and plastic cloth. It costs about 2600 yuan ($ 395).

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Ding Shilu, an automobile mechanic, drives his self-made aircraft after a test-flight on a street in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 25, 2011.

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Ding Shilu, an automobile mechanic, carries out a test-flight for his self-made aircraft at a frozen reservoir in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 25, 2011.

bi plane

bi plane