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Goyal emphasises opportunities for private investors in railways

He also suggested the private sector to look at the option of elevated corridors along the national highways to avoid the delay in the process of land procurement.

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, June 22 : Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asserted that there are huge opportunities for private businesses in the sector as the national transporter is willing to lease out traffic routes and parcel trains to them.

Citing the example of the national transporter”s plan to hand over the services of 150 trains to private operators, he asked the private sector to join hands with the railways.

At an event organised by CII, Goyal, in his address through video conferencing, said: “Private sector can support in million ways… and I am going to lease out new routes.”

He asked the private players to identify the route where they want to set up a train service.

“If you want, we are willing to co-invest with you in the new lines. We are willing to lease out traffic routes, we are willing to lease out parcel trains. So, there are a lot of opportunities opening up for the private sector,” he said.

He also suggested the private sector to look at the option of elevated corridors along the national highways to avoid the delay in the process of land procurement.

Highlighting the achievements of the Railways, Goyal said that on Sunday, the national transporter was able to move about 95 per cent of the freight that it did on June 21 last year.

“We are just 5 per cent down what was on June 21, 2019. If we take June as a whole, we are about eight per cent down, from June 1 to 21 in terms of freight loading,” he said.

He also said that by July, Railways would be at par and growth will be witnessed from August-September onwards.

The Minister said that as of Sunday, Indian Railways moved 4,553 ”Shramik Special” trains, for migrant labourers, and the number is continuously reducing.

“From May 31 to June 21, it has come down to double digits and yesterday (Sunday), only three trains. So, the demand is over. We have sorted out all those who wanted to go back home,” the minister said.

He added that the railways has started 230 trains on regular routes, “they are not going full as people are still hesitant to travel”.

Meanwhile, Railway Board Member, Traffic, P. K. Mishra at a press conference said: “During April and May freight loading was subdued due to nationwide lockdown.”

“But things have improved in June as more than 90 per cent of last year”s loading has been achieved and the movement of steel, fertilisers, cement, food grains and other goods is more than last year”s corresponding period,” he said.

He pointed out that loading of food grains has increased by 94 per cent and it is likely to continue in the coming days. “While the cement loading is 18 per cent more than last year. Loading of coal will also increase and this is expected to be at same level in quarter three and four,” he added.

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WhatsApp rolls out first-ever global brand campaign in India

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New Delhi, July 4 : WhatsApp on Saturday launched its first brand campaign in India that narrates real stories about how Indians communicate daily on WhatsApp with their closest relationships.

The campaign called ”It”s Between You” gives thrust on WhatsApp”s commitment to privacy, the company said in a statement.

“With WhatsApp”s end-to-end encryption, we come closest to replicating real-life interactions and that”s when we can truly be ourselves. The conversations you have, the jokes you tell and the memories you relive belong to you and deserve to stay between you,” said Avinash Pant, Director, Marketing at Facebook India.

WhatsApp collaborated with Gauri Shinde, a celebrated Indian Bollywood director along with BBDO India to create two 60-seconds ads, each highlighting how WhatsApp”s features like texts, video calls or even a voice message, help replicate in-person conversations and bring people closer.

One ad is based on a true story about an elderly woman and her caregiver, who are now separated from each other.

“From how to bring together the cast and crew that were right for the part and happened to be living together, and directing over a WhatsApp video call, to doing all the post production work without being physically present, it”s been really rewarding,” said Shinde.

The second story is at the other end of the spectrum of emotion, which is a light and fun film about a younger sister giving joyful courage to her elder one through a WhatsApp video call, when the latter feels vulnerable and hesitant to give her a haircut at home.

“WhatsApp is designed to help friends and family communicate as well as help users connect with a business that is important to them,” said the company.

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

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New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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