New Delhi: The government had merged the Railway Budget with the Union Budget in the year 2017, ending the practice that started in 1924. A committee of Bibek Debroy and Kishore Desai recommended abolishing the practice, following the move to end the British-era practice.
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The move can be called significant because in some coalition governments, especially after 1996, political giants used the rail budget to give gifts and build their image.
With railway portfolios often held by regional giants, the budget reflects the political preferences of the incumbent. The railway bureaucracy had also tightened its gear in the past.
The committee of NITI Aayog had said in its report that separate railway budget is just an annual ritual which should be abolished.
Separate railway budget was presented for 92 years. However, now the merger has opened the doors of more scope for the Finance Ministry for better allocation of resources.
It also facilitated multi-modal transport planning between railways, inland waterways and highways.
However, the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had mentioned that the functional autonomy of the Railways would be retained.
Let us tell you that last year’s budget announcement saw several measures which included the introduction of a new tax regime. This year, the government is apparently looking at several policy measures for the banking sector, including setting up of a bad bank and privatization of some state-run banks.
first published:Jan. 17, 2022, 4:11 p.m.