Railway budget derailed: Five facts you probably didn’t know

A 92-year-old tradition of the railway budget has been broken.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 21, 2016 6:16 pm
railway budget, suresh prabhu, railway minister, union budget, railway budget merged, first railway budget, why no railway budget Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. (Express archive photo)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday addressed the media and informed that the general budget and railway budget will be merged and presented as a single budget from 2017. However, the functional autonomy of the railway budget will be maintained, Jaitley confirmed. The budget’s date has not been announced for 2017 as it depends on the Assembly session.

Jaitley, while briefing the media, said that the practice was adopted because railway budget used to be higher that general budget but things have changed with time. “Now there are several departments whose budget is higher than that of railway budget, namely defence,” Jaitley said.

The practice of presenting the railway budget separately is more than seven decades old and this decision by the BJP government will now put an end to it. The rail budget used to be presented every year by railway minister few days prior to the presentation of the general budget.

When was the first railway budget presented?

After the recommendations of 10 member-Acworth Committee in 1920-21, the railway budget was separated from general budget in 1924. Since then the budget was presented independently.

When was the first live telecast of the railway budget?

It took 70 years for the first live telecast of the railway budget to take place on March 24, 1994.

Who was the first railway minister in independent India?

After India attained Independence on August 15, 1947, John Mathai became the first railway minister.

Who was the first woman railway minister?

Mamata Banerjee, current chief minister of West Bengal and chief of the Trinamool Congress, became the first woman railway minister in 2000.

Which minister presented the railway budget most times?

Jagjivan Ram, father of former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, presented seven budgets in total while RJD supremo Lalu Prasad presented six times.