NEW DELHI: The Central Government is all prepared to discard the practice of presenting a separate Railway budget, as the Panel constituted for the purpose headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy recommended that the annual exercise should be scrapped.
Niti Aayog was mandated by the Prime Minister’s office to consider doing away with the practice of presenting a rail budget and to work out a detailed strategy on the possibilities of integrating the railway budget with general budget. It is understood that Bibek Debroy has submitted a 20-page recommendations list to the Central Government over the same.
Accordingly, the Prime Minister’s office has sent a note to the Railway ministry titled ‘dispensing with the Rail budget’ asking its opinion on the recommendations made by the Niti Aayog panel. Mr Debroy said that the practice of presenting a railway budget has by far failed to be a use of the sector and that it has remained only as a mechanism to ‘announce popular measures’.
On the other hand, Railway ministry said that it would consult Department of Economic Affairs and other economists, before coming to a decision over the railway budget. Sources said that the railway ministry may form a committee before arriving to a conclusion.
If the final outcome mandates for a change, the February’s railway budget presented by Minister Suresh Prabhu in the parliament will remain in history as the last railway budget session.