Why Railway budget is presented separately?

Yesterday I had posted my wish list for the Union budget. Today I am writing about my wish list for the Railway budget. I wish this is the last railway budget presented in India! I wish railway budget concept itself is scrapped. Dear PM, as you have merged ministries, please merge railway budget with Union budget.

The concept of a separate railway budget began in pre-independence era. About 40-50 years back, railways was a major revenue earner for the government. Today, railway budget constitutes less than 15% of the total budget size of India. So, there is no need to present a separate railway budget.

Secondly, what is it that the railway minister presents in the budget? 100 new route surveys (not new routes or new rails); likewise in every rail budget they announce survey of many routes, what happens to such surveys are not yet known (In Kannada we say ‘Rail Bidodhu’). Extension of route for existing rails is announced. For example, a rail from Hyderabad to Bangalore will be extended to Mysore; rail to Mangalore will be extended to Puttur, etc. He will also announce a hand few new rail routes, conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge, modernizing the railway stations, building toilets, cleaning rail platforms, etc. Do you think for announcing these things, we need a separate budget? Scrap it

Thirdly, today there are equally important or more important portfolios in terms of size and revenue generations. For example, telecom and technology, healthcare, etc. If at all we have to make a separate budget, these newer horses have to get separate attention.

Finally, the important decisions such as increase in fare, FDI in railways, modernizing the stations are addressed during the year.

I understand that Railway is a prominent portfolio and to facilitate coalition partners with ministerial portfolios, the erstwhile governments had not thought of scrapping this budget business. But today, Mr. PM you don’t have the baggage of coalition. Take the decision please.

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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 28+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional, Registered Valuer (F&SA) and Social Auditor.Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at simplifiedlaws20@gmail.com

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