With the railway minister hinting at a fare hike sooner than later, it now looks the Union Budget 2013-2014 may not turn out to be a populist one. The market, meanwhile, has plunged deeper into the red, with stocks from across several sectors sliding to lower levels on sustained selling pressure.
The Sensex is now down 198 points or 1.02% at 19,133.69, while the Nifty is down with a loss of 60.50 points or 1.02% at 5795.25.
The Railway Minister Pawan Kumar, presenting the rail budget for 2013-2014, has stated that losses on passenger operations stood at Rs 24,600 crorre in financial year 2013. He said 'steep increase in input costs can only be met by a hike in freight rates'.
The minister said that the railways spent around Rs 100 crore on upgrading 3 Delhi stations and is aiming to borrow around Rs 1 lakh crore from the market during the 12th plan.
The rail minister has said that by fiscal 13 end, 1500 km of projects for dedicated freight corridor will be awarded.
The minister identified 104 stations for better infrastructure facilities and announced a plan to allocate Rs 2000 crore for land and station development, besides spelling out a slew of passenger-friendly amenities.
Rail related stocks are all trading sharply lower. Kernex Microsystems, Kalindee Rail Nirman, Titagarh Wagons and Texmaco are all down sharply, losing 5% - 10%, on heavy selling.
Tata Motors is down by over 4%. ICICI Bank, Bajaj Auto, Hindalco, ONGC, IDFC, BPCL, Tata Steel, Reliance Industries, Coal India, HDFC, Ambuja Cements, Larsen & Toubro and Maruti Suzuki are down 2% - 3%.
Lupin, Punjab National Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance Infrastructure, Sesa Goa, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Hero Motocorp, Axis Bank, Ranbaxy Laboratories and BHEL are also trading notably lower.
Bucking the weak trend, Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever, Jaiprakash Associates, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, ITC, Grasim Industries and NTPC are trading in positive territory, gaining 0.5% - 2%.