CPI on Saturday raised concerns over government’s decision to merge railway budget with general budget, alleging that it is a step taken towards opening up of FDI in the sector and privatisation of the public transporter.
“It is a recommendation of a committee constituted by NITI Ayog that Indian Railways must be opened for not only FDI but (also) for commercialisation and privatisation,” the CPI claimed in a statement.
Noting Indian Railways is the “biggest” public transporter “which physically unites the country”, the CPI said the latest decision has raised several questions and apprehensions over the public sector character of Railways.
The party hit out at the government for taking the decision in “arbitrary” manner, without discussing it in Parliament.
Ending the nearly century-long practice, Union Cabinet had on September 21 decided to scrap a separate budget for railways and merge it with general budget.
The decision was taken in line with report of NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy-headed committee, which had observed that presenting a separate railway budget is only a ritual as its size has become very small compared to the general budget.
The panel had suggested that rail budget should be a part of government’s overall fiscal discipline and the developmental approach of the Budget.