Mamata's budget gains FM's appreciation

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Mamata Banerjee-Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Feb 25: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee complimented Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for presenting a 'good budget' despite difficult financial situation arising out of increased wage burden.

"She has to work in very difficult situation and on the whole it is a good budget," Mukherjee told reporters here after the Railway Budget was presented in Parliament.

He said the Railways is facing resource constraint because of salary hike recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission. Even so, the Railways has recommended a dividend of 6 per cent to the general exchequer.

"I think railway has been giving six per cent (dividend)," he said.

Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) this year will be Rs 20,000 crore for various projects the Railways Minister has announced, he said.

Much to the respite of the common man, the Railway Budget for 2011-12 spared passengers of any increase in fares and proposed no hike in freight rates while introducing 56 new trains, including nine non-stop Duronto trains and three Shatabdi's.

Earlier, presenting her third railway budget in UPA-II in the Lok Sabha, Banerjee announced a slew of concessions including reducing the eligibility age of senior women citizens from 60 to 58 years and the fare concession for men above 60 from 30 to 40 per cent.

The budget proposed the highest-ever plan outlay of Rs 57,630 crore for 2011-12. The gross budgetary support has been projected at Rs 20,000 crore, diesel cess Rs 1,041 crore, internal resources Rs 14,219 crore and market borrowing at Rs 20,954 crore.

The budget estimates for 2011-12 a freight loading of 993 million tonnes and a passenger growth of 6.4 per cent.

Gross traffic receipts has been estimated at Rs 1,06,239 crore, exceeding the Rs one lakh crore mark for the first time, despite pressure on finances on account of the Pay Commission payout.

PTI

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