Rail budget scrapped after 92 years

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After nearly a century of separate rail budgets in India, the Union Cabinet today approved the merger of the annual railway budget with the general budget.
“Rail budget and general budget will be amalgamated. From now on, there will only be one budget,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. Jaitley added: “However, the functional autonomy of Indian Railways will continue to be maintained.”
The move is expected to help the cash-strapped Indian Railways save about Rs 10,000 crore annually.
On August 2, the Lok Sabha had adopted a resolution under which the Railway Ministry had sought to question the practice of the Railways paying dividends to the government. The Railways pay about Rs 10,000 crore as dividend annually.
Also read: PM Modi-led committee all set to approve 36 Rafale fighter deal todayThe first Report of Railway Convention Committee (2014), appointed to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to the general revenue, had also favoured against payment of the dividends, the sources said.
With GST in mind. According to the new proposal, the integrated budget may be presented to both houses of Parliament on January 31, and not end of February as has been the practice.
The advancing of the winter session of Parliament to the second week of November and the merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget are aimed at facilitating the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system by April 1, 2017.
Also read: Cabinet to consider cable connectivity to Port Blair
The winter session in November will help the government in the quick passage of the Central GST Bill as well as the Integrated GST Bill. By the first week of December, the government wants to clear the legislative works.

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