President Pranab Mukherjee has approved changes in government rules to allow merger of rail budget with the Union Budget 2017. The Department of Economic Affairs has been entrusted with the work relating to preparation of central budget including rail budget, as per a recent order issued by Cabinet Secretariat. Earlier, the department was looking after the preparation of budget other than the railway.
The President has given nod to amend Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 in this regard and the department will now prepare both the budgets. The Union Cabinet had in September last year approved certain landmark budgetary reforms relating to the merger of railway budget with the general budget from 2017-18 onwards. The presentation of separate railway budget started in 1924, and has continued after independence as a convention rather than under Constitutional provisions.
The Cabinet had also given nod for advancement of the date of budget presentation from the last day of February. The government will present the Union budget 2017-18 on February 1.