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Rail budget wasn't taken over by FM, it was voluntary merger: Suresh Prabhu


New Delhi, Apr 26: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said he himself had volunteered for clubbing of Railways budget with the General Budget, and it was 'not a take over' by the Finance Ministry.

Suresh Prabhu

Ending a nearly century-old practice of having a separate budget for railways, the government from the current fiscal merged it with the General Budget, which was presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1.

During an exclusive interaction with PTI, Prabhu was talking about the vision for making the public transport more efficient and profitable. He said there was only one source of funds for the railways, and that was the Budget.

"Arun Jaitley will always say I have so many priorities and rightly so. If I were the Finance Minister I will say the same thing," he said.

To a question on merger of rail budget with the Union Budget, the minister quipped: "I voluntarily gave it up. It was not a take over. It was a voluntary merger".

A separate Budget for Railways has been presented to Parliament since 1924 even though neither the Constitution nor legal requirements call for a separate Budget. The practice has now been discontinued.

Railway historians say that it was during the British rule - in the early 1920s - that on the basis of the report of the Acworth Committee, railway finances.

The NITI Aayog had suggested this merger as the Railway budget was being used to dole out favours by way of new trains and projects.


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