Why Railway Budget was merged with Union Budget? Who played big role in change? Know here
The Union Budget and Railway budget were presented separately in India for a long time. However, the 92-year-old tradition was scrapped by the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2016 after which, both the budgets have been merged and are presented on the same day.
The Union Budget and Railway budget were presented separately in India for a long time. However, the 92-year-old tradition was scrapped by the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2016 after which, both the budgets have been merged and are presented on the same day. The practice of presenting the Railway Budget on a different date was started by the British in 1924 as the major portion of the government revenues and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was largely dependent on the revenues earned from Railways.
A NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) committee headed by economist and NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy, came up with a whitepaper and recommended that the British-era practise should be phased out. The recommendation was sent to the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who in a letter, urged Arun Jaitley to merge both the budgets for the long-term interest of both the railways and the country’s economy. The issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha by Arun Jaitley and a committee was constituted to chart out the future course of action.
The NITI Aayog committee in its report had said that a separate Railway Budget was just an annual ritual that should be done away with as the size of the Railway Budget has shrunken when compared to the overall general budget. It said that presenting a separate Railway Budget was not required.
Notably, India was the only country in the world where the Railway Budget was presented separately. Next year on 1 February 2017, Arun Jaitley became the first Finance Minister to present a combined railway and general budget. Along with this, Arun Jaitley also changed the Budget presentation date. Now, the Budget is presented on February 1 and the Economic Survey was also advanced to the first day of the Budget Session, which is January 31.
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