Sharing his views on the merger of the Railway Budget with the main Budget Tilak Raj Seth, Executive Vice President (CEO of Mobility Division) at Siemens said, "Railways is a prime mover of our economy. Merging the two budgets is a good step, but the focus should not be lost."
Stating that a glimpse of the five-year budget plan was already given last year by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Tilak Raj Seth, Executive Vice President (CEO of Mobility Division) at Siemens Limited told FE Online that Railways will continue on its 5-year plan path. “For the first time, last year Railways decided not to announce any new lines and trains. I believe that this year, the Railway Budget, as part of the main Budget, will continue with the strategic focus, keeping the 5-year plan in mind.”
Sharing his views on the merger of the Railway Budget with the main Budget he said, “Railways is a prime mover of our economy. Merging the two budgets is a good step, but the focus should not be lost. When you combine the two budgets, you should not miss the focus required on Railway expenditure.” “Over the years, the Railway expenditure is smaller when compared to the rest of the national budget. Railways depends on extra sources of budgetary support and the gross budgetary support. So, it makes sense if Railway Budget is made a part of the main Budget,” he added.
This is the first time in 92 years that the Railway Budget will be a part of the main Union Budget, and will not be presented separately by the Railway Minister. In a radical reform, earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accepted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge the two budgets. The move to discard the age-old practice of a separate Rail Budget is part of the Modi government’s reform agenda. The most important thing is that after the merger, the Railways would not have to pay dividend to the central government and its capital at charge would stand to be wiped off. The Railways used to pay up to Rs 10,000 crore as dividend to the government.
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Railway Budget is a popular part of the whole Budget exercise, especially for the common man who wants to know if any new trains will be introduced and whether passenger friendly amenties have been announced. However, it is likely that this time the Finance Minister may just table the Railway Budget components.