Passenger Fares, Freight Rates on Hold in Rail Budget
February 12, 2014 7:10 PM EST
The interim railway budget has left passenger fares and freight rates unchanged, ahead of the national elections due in next three months.
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge presented the budget on Wednesday for the first four months of the 2014/15 fiscal year that begins in April.
India last raised passenger fares in January 2013, after a nine-year gap, snapping a populist trend in order to help mend the finances of a network whose creaky service has become a drag on the economy.
India presents an interim budget in an election year to seek parliament's approval for planned expenditure for a few months, but leaves it for the next government to make major policy announcements in the full-year budget after the polls.
India's state-owned railways -- fourth largest in the world with about 65,000 kms of tracks -- is the main mode of long-distance travel in the country despite its poor safety records.
Shares in firms manufacturing railway components fall after the interim railway budget unveiled on Wednesday lacked any major capital spending announcement, dealers say.
Although broadly expectations of any major announcement had been low, some traders had bet on a potential positive surprise leading to the announcement.
The railway budget kept passenger fares and freight rates unchanged.
Kernex Microsystems (India) (KMIL.NS) slumps 5.8 percent, Kalindee Rail Nirman Engineers (KALI.NS) is down 2.7 percent and Titagarh Wagons (TITW.NS) falls 2.4 percent.
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