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Railway budget: Reactions from the common man


Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee unveiled a populist budget on Friday that froze both passenger and freight fares, disappointing hopes for major reform in a lagging sector key to the country’s infrastructure growth.

Reuters spoke to people at the New Delhi railway station to get their reaction to the railway budget.

from India Masala:

What Bollywood wants from Budget 2011

Vipul Shah, director  - There have been a few burning issues that have plagued the industry for the last few years. Entertainment Tax is pegged as high as 45% in Mumbai. There is always the impression amongst the general public and perhaps even the Government that film makers rake in huge profits. The reality however, is far removed. Films have an 80 : 20 success ratio - this itself is self explanatory of the plight of most producers. Service Tax, VAT and TDS also remain grey areas for us. These are pressing concerns and have been presented before the Government as major concerns for a few years now, and year after year, all of us await some change in stance on this. We are hopeful that the Central Government will pay heed to our concerns this time. As a fraternity that has been granted industry status, we feel that these reforms are extremely fair and can be looked into." Atul Kulkarni, Actor - I don't have a budget wishlist. I don't want them to take less from me. Just wish that they spend it more appropriately. But then it is we who have either sent them (politicians) there. We have also not given importance to politics for generations together. Sheetal Talwar, MD, Vistar Religare Film Fund - "Rationalisation of taxes is of primary concern. The dual taxation policy is something that needs to be looked into immediately. At present, we pay both Service Tax and VAT. While we have been granted industry status, there are very few actual benefits that have percolated down to the different tiers of the industry. For instance, the large numbers of union and daily workers are not covered under Vikas Yojna, ESIS or any sort of pension schemes. We have been striving for a better implementation of the industry tag and think that change truly is around the corner for us." Kamal Jain, CFO, Eros International - Budget 2010 mandated a higher withholding tax rate of 20 per cent in case of payees not having a PAN. With the changed dynamics of the industry, greater amount of content is being procured from foreign players and various one-off payments are being made to foreign artists. A suitable clarification in the Budget 2011, relaxing the higher withholding rate is much warranted as Indian companies are being unnecessarily penalized for failure on the part of the payee to apply for PAN. Industry also looks forward for reduction of customs duty on equipment and hardware necessary for film production.  Similarly, the industry has asked for exemption of 16 per cent CVD on unexposed color cinematographic films, which would help them combat piracy by making more film prints at an affordable cost. The animation and gaming industry has sought a 10-year tax holiday and removal of service tax on studios developing original content.

The Union Budget is on everyone's mind and affects Bollywood too. Here's what people from the Indian film industry have to say --

People buy tickets at a counter at a multiplex movie theatre in Mumbai November 22, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta/FilesVipul Shah, Director

- "There have been a few burning issues that have plagued the industry for the last few years. Entertainment tax is pegged as high as 45 percent in Mumbai. There is always the impression amongst the general public and perhaps even the government that filmmakers rake in huge profits. The reality, however, is far removed. Films have an 80:20 success ratio -- this itself is self explanatory of the plight of most producers.

Current income tax slabs


Here are the current income tax slabs, applicabl for financial year 2011-2012. Watch this space for latest updates on income tax slabs in Budget 2011.


For a illustration of tax calculation for FY2011, click

Banking index gains 1.5 pct


It was a good day for banking counters, as the banking index ended with gains of 1.5 percent in a Mumbai market that ended 200 points higher.

HDFC Bank was the top gainer in the index, ending up 4.15 percent, followed by IndusInd Bank which gained 2.4 percent. Federal Bank was the only stock in the index which ended in red.

Unitech shares jump more than 9 pct


Shares in Unitech, one of India’s leading real estate firms, rose 9.3 percent to close at 38.2 rupees, after a sell-off amid allegations that the firm was among those who were favoured in 2G licence grants in 2008.

On Tuesday, the CBI questioned Unitech’s MD as part of a probe into the alleged telecoms corruption scandal.

Mahindra Satyam shares jump on earnings


Software services exporter Mahindra Satyam jumped 11.7 percent to 64.65 rupees after the firm reported its third quarter net profit, which more than doubled from a quarter ago.

The company also said that it put a planned merger with its parent firm, Tech Mahindra, on hold.

from Krishna Das:

ANALYSIS-Small ships to unlock rate boon for bulk owners

By Krishna N Das and Jonathan Saul

BANGALORE/LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Dry cargo shippers with smaller vessels are shifting to more-risk, more-reward spot markets, eyeing rising demand for sugar and grains -- commodities well suited to versatile supramax and handysize ships.

Ship owners generally prefer long-term charters in a weak market. The Baltic Dry Index <.BADI> o-year lows in recent weeks but confidence has been rocked by South Korean dry bulk group Korea Line Corp <005880.KS> filing for bankruptcy protection, highlighting the risk of charter-party defaults.

BSE Realty Index slips 3 pct; Unitech down 7 pct


Concrete slabs are lifted at the construction site of Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai, April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

The BSE Realty index ended lower on Tuesday on concerns of increasing interest rates and as rising input costs weighed on investors.

Analysts said with foreign funds pulling out more than $1 billion from Indian equities since the start of January, the outlook for the near term remained subdued.
The BSE Realty index was down 3 percent, underperforming the benchmark index, which was down 1.5 percent. Shares of DLF, Unitech, Indiabulls Real Estate and Sobha Developers were down between 1 and 7 percent.
The Realty index has slipped over 20 percent in 2011. Do you see a further downside in real estate shares?

SpiceJet, Sun TV slip on CBI probe talk


SpiceJet aircraft prepares for landing at the airport in Mumbai July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/FilesShares in SpiceJet and Sun TV Network fell on market talk that Sun founder Kalanithi Maran’s deal of buying a stake in SpiceJet was under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, four dealers said.

Shares of both the companies had fallen 7-13 percent on Friday

SpiceJet closed 2 percent lower at 47.65 rupees while shares in Sun TV Network ended 11.4 percent down at 410 rupees.

BSE Power index falls


The BSE Power index fell 1.3 percent on Wednesday to end as one the top sectoral losers, as the broader market ended marginally higher.

Shares in JSW Steel dropped nearly 3 percent and ended as the top loser in the index. BHEL and NTPC shares lost more than 2.5 percent.