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. 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.
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.