KOLKATA: As the Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda started presenting his maiden Rail Budget in Lok Sabha on 8 July, Esha Media Research, a media monitoring and research company, saw an increase in inquiries, seeking news clips of the Railway Budget.
The enquiries were for news clips in parts or as a whole from different stakeholders and interested parties across the ecosystem including big information technology (IT) companies and foreign direct investors (FDIs). The BJP-led government has mooted railway digitisation and foreign investment to improve the country’s railway system.
Esha Media Research says that it currently monitors 140 channels across the nation in all languages. “We are tracking the entire railway budget and also certain areas like IT, FDI, freights in parts,” Esha Media Research managing director R S Iyer informed indiantelevision.com.
“Tracking for railways is more as compared to last year,” Iyer said. “Apart from business houses, we are also receiving inquiries from media agencies tracking the economic content,” he added. Without mentioning the names of the clients and agencies, he revealed that there are some forums across the world that are interested to know and analyse the seriousness of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
“We have been tracking from morning all the government interviews across channels, and they will continue to take place till the end of prime time today, maybe until 11pm. We have also started uploading the files,” Iyer informed.
Gowda, during his budget presentation, said that his Ministry would seek cabinet approval for allowing foreign direct investment in the state-owned network, but passenger services would be excluded.
The Railway Minister proposed work stations in select trains as a pilot project this year apart from offering technology for automatic closing of doors both in main line and suburban sections.
He also said that the e-ticketing mechanism would be strengthened to allow 120,000 simultaneous bookings. The proposed overhaul of the e-ticketing system would support 7,200 tickets per minute as against the current 2,000 tickets per minute
The budget also talked about the expansion scope of online booking, including streamlining of booking on mobiles, and providing Wi-Fi in A1 and A category stations and in select trains. E-procurement would be made compulsory for procurements worth Rs 25 lakh and more said Gowda.
“Overall the budget was crisp and concise and the government played safe by not hiking the fare on the day of the budget but two weeks before it,” said a financial expert.
Stock markets have not reacted very favourably to the railway budget-the BSE closed 562 points down at 4pm today as compared to the its pre-opening at 9am. The NSE CNX Nifty index also closed 2.11 per cent lower than its opening today.