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The threshold limits on tax need to be increased and tax rates should be spread across more slabs so as not to hurt the salaried class. - Jayaraman

The I-T exemption for men should be Rs 1.8 lakh. Rs 1.5 lakh is peanuts. - Naveen Kumar
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Expert comments
Gaurav Taneja,
Partner & National Tax Director says the Finance Minister has stressed on buoyancy in tax collections and on attaining a Tax—GDP ratio of 12.5%.
Motilal Oswal, Chairman and Managing Director of Motilal Oswal Financial Services says the Finance Minister was uniquely positioned to present a landmark Budget.
Srinivasa Rao, Partner & India International Tax Leader, Ernst & Young is of the opinion that Union Budget has lived up to the populist trend.
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Union Budget 2008-09  »   Railway Budget
Railway Budget Highlights 2008 - 09
Our achievements is an open book
Railways has done tremendous work
Customer is our God
Every child will say 'Chak de Railway'
Railways has generated huge surplus owing to well-thought policies of UPA govt
Indian Railways is attaining popularity
We have turned the Indian Railways into a profit making organisation
We are working on increasing the productivity of the railway workers
We have increased the productivity of railway assets
We stretched our vision to deliver record breaking performance
We have turned out to be the cheapest mass transporters in the country
We played the volume gain to earn profit
Everyone has appreciated my work for the betterment of Railways
I have worked quite hard on raising the bar high and increasing our profits
Reduction of fares in AC-1 clss by 7%, AC-2 tier by 4% and AC- 3 tier by 3%
Price of second class fares have been cut by 5%
Sleeper fares cut by 5%
50% concession for AIDS patients
30% rebate for male senior citizens
50% for women senior citizens instead of 30%
Paramveer Charka and Ashok Charka winners along with companion can use their card now even in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to travel free
Girls to get free season tickets till graduation
Free tickets for male students till Class XII
Bhubaneshwar-New Delhi Rajdhani tri-weekly
New Itarsi-Katni passenger train daily
New Ahmedabad-Patan Express daily
Chennai-Salem new train daily
Ranchi-Bhagalpur new train tri-weekly
Indore-Udaipur via Ratlam new train tri-weekly
New Puri-Darbhanga Express weekly
Indore-Udaipur via Ratlam new train tri-weekly
Khajuraho-Delhi new train tri-weekly
New weekly Varanasi-Rameshwaram Express
Machhlipatnam-Bangalore new train tri-weekly
Amravati-Mumbai Express new train bi-weekly
All vacant posts to be filled up in GRP
GRP to get new weapons
In Group D out of 6000 new appointments 5000 are from SC/ST
Modular toilets to be installed in trains
Rs 40 bn kept for discharge-free train toilets
Touchscreen, colour display boards at stations
Express trains to have public address systems
Online info boards in overnight trains to display news
15,000 automated ticket machines in 2 years
To link trains via IT, communications by 2009
E-ticket will be available in wait list
50 big stations to have lifts, escalators
Automated ticket vending machines at 250 stations
Railways planning SMARTCARD-based ticket system
'Go Mumbai' cards to be sold at bus depots
Long-distance trains to display next station
Rajdhani, Shatabdi to get modernised coaches
E-ticket booking to go up from 1 lakh to 3 lakh annually
Mulling ticket confirmation via mobile phone
Plan to provide ticket booking via mobile phone
Smart card system to all railways
New coaches in all Rajdhani trains by 2010
New coaches in Shatabdi trains by 2011
Multi-level parking at 36 railway stations
LHB coaches in all Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains. This will improve speed and comfort
Mulling ticket confirmation via mobile phone
After 2010 only stainless steel coaches; production by 2008-09
On board cleaning system in every Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Mail and Superfast trains to be done by a professional agencies
Platform shelter in all B level stations
Platform length to be increased
50 big stations to have lift and escalators
Arrival time to be printed on tickets
Express trains to have public address systems
Kalka-Shimla Railway to get UNESCO world heritage status; focus to be on tourism
Tie-up with China Railways; working for Trans-Asian Railway Project
Orders from six countries for Indian rail coaches
Achieved 790 tonnes pay-load target
Additional Rs 20 bn earned on freight services
New policy for wagon leasing
Indian Railways had a cash surplus of Rs 25,000 crore in the 2007-08 fiscal
Additional 20,000 cr earned on freight service
Railway Fund Balance up 2,000 crore
Rail Plan soars from 11,000 cr to 33,000 crore
Rs 49,250 crores spent as investment on new projects
Last year, railway profit ratio touched 76%
Rs 14,000 crore profit in loading
Rs 49,250 crore invested in new projects
Sitting companies given railway licences
Railway has increased passenger train numbers
Achieved 790 tonne payload target
Railway plan size hiked from Rs 11,000 cr to Rs 30,000 cr
Rs 49,250 crore invested in new projects
Private companies can make terminals on rail land
560 platforms to be lengthened for long-distance trains
Sector Analysis
Negotiating a rough patch
Demand growth is expected to be buoyant driven by new vehicle launches, likely softening of interest rates and continued growth on the export front.
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Railway Budget
Lalu presents people's budget, slashes fares
The minister announced launch of several new trains and reduction in fares across all classes amid chaos by Opposition in Parliament.
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A budget for Bharat
Buoyant tax revenues a lower fiscal deficit and an economy that's in top gear permit the FM to pump big money into agriculture and the social sector. Those efforts might help at the hustings, too.
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Economic Survey
'Expand telecom infrastructure, R&D'
"With rapid growth of telecom network, there is a need to further expand the infrastructure and research and development," the survey said.
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Surfers' comments
This is a very good budget, especially for agriculture and education. P Chidambaram is the best.
- By Saravanan P (
If you can waive Rs 50,000 crore for farmers what about the tax on housing loan interest? That should also have been reduced.
- Chandra Shekar V (
Please tax the street hawkers and give relief to the salaried persons.
- Rajaram (
This is the worst budget the finance minister has ever presented. The backbone of the country's economy is the transport but he completely missed it out.
- Jayakaanthan A (
The budget is sure to augment growth and will also lessen the volatility of the stock markets.
- Sidharth Paul (
Overall, the budget is satisfactory but the health sector should have been given greater importance.
- Ankit Chaudhary (
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Business Today's Budget edition
Editorial: Predictably populist budget
Special: Something for everyone...
Column: All for the common man
Exclusive interview with the FM
Maintaining the growth story
The Finance Minister defends Budget 2008 and the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver doled out to farmers in an exclusive interview to Business Today's Sanjoy Narayan and R Sridharan.
"Total reduction of excise duties by 2% will give a welcome boost to the manufacturing sector. Also, the exemption of specified parts of set-top boxes from customs duties is commendable".
- Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
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Beginner’s guide to budget
Union Budget is an estimate of the Government of India's revenue and expenditure for the end of a particular fiscal year, which usually runs from April 1 to March 31. Read on...
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Are you satisfied with Chidambaram's budget proposals for 2008-09?
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