No Railway Budget from next financial year, Arun Jaitley accepts Suresh Prabhu’s proposal

The Finance Ministry has now constituted a five-member committee comprising senior officials of the Ministry and the national transporter to work out the modalities for the merger.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: August 14, 2016 11:39 am
railway budget, railway budget 2016, opposition attacked railway budget, railway budget in lok sabha, lok sabha, tariq anwar, narendra modi, suresh prabhu, india news Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presenting this year’s railway budget. (PTI photo)

The 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget is set to come to an end from the next fiscal, with the Finance Ministry accepting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge it with the General Budget.

According to railways, The Finance Ministry has now constituted a five-member committee comprising senior officials of the Ministry and the national transporter to work out the modalities for the merger. The committee has been asked to submit its report by August 31.

“I had written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for merger of the Rail Budget with General Budget. This will be in the Railway’s interest and also in the nation’s interest. We are working out the modalities,” Prabhu told PTI.

The public sector behemoth has to bear an additional burden of about Rs 40,000 crore on account of implementation of the 7th Pay Commission awards, besides an annual outgo of Rs 32,000 crore on subsidies.

Besides, the delay in completion of projects resulted in cost overrun of Rs 1.07 lakh crore and huge throw-forward of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in respect of 442 ongoing rail projects.

If the merger happens, Indian Railway will get rid of the annual dividend it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government every year.

According to a senior Railway official, the move to discard the age-old practice of a separate Rail Budget is part of the Modi government’s reform agenda.

With the merger, the issue of raising passenger fares, an unpopular decision, will be the Finance Minister’s call.

Prabhu had also told Rajya Sabha on August 9 that he has asked the Finance Minister to merge the Railway Budget with General Budget in the long-term interest of national transporter as well as the country’s economy.

All-India Railwaymen’s Federation General Secretary Gopal Mishra said Railway Ministry’s autonomy will be lost in the merger. “But we have to see in what form the merger will happen,” he said.

The merger move is significant as it is expected to have political implications.

It has been seen that almost every Railway Minister, particularly in coalition governments, has addressed his constituencies by doling out favours by way of new trains and projects.

The keenly sought after Railway Ministry is likely to lose much of its sheen if merger happens.

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  1. V
    Vish
    Aug 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm
    Very nice move. Railways was used a bribery tool by corrupt net's for their votes. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I think, some independent organization should come up facts on current condition of railways and who contributed to this bad condition. It should be a regular feature every five years. This might act as a deterrent for corrupt netas.
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      ak dev
      Aug 14, 2016 at 10:59 am
      Well done Suresh Prabhu. Indians good wishes are with you. Keep on reforming Indian Railways.
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        Appaji
        Aug 14, 2016 at 8:18 am
        You people only deserve sudo secular congress,sp and tmc so that you can live happily in a dark ages. No value for honest development attempts by NDA.You lazy people fit for nothing other than complaining for everything.,
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          DAMODARDAS
          Aug 14, 2016 at 7:28 am
          no budget means they can make any scandals without audit accountability and one day u will woke up to know they have trillions of debts on railwayas and sold everything to foreign invaders - welcome slavery
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            k.a.krishna rao
            Aug 14, 2016 at 5:08 pm
            A VERY GOOD STEP....POLITICS IN RAILWAY BUDGETING WILL NOW COME TO AN END..... RAILWAYS SHOULD NOW INCREASE PENGER FARE @ RS.0.1O PER KM. SUBJECT TO A MAXIMIUM OF SAY RS 250 PER TICKET..... BUS FARE WILL STILL CONTIINUE TO BE HIGHER THAN RLWY FARE....
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