The government on Wednesday said that the merger of rail and general budgets will facilitate multi-modal transport planning between highways, railways and inland waterways."Merger of rail budget with Union budget would facilitate multi-modal transport planning between highways, railways and inland waterways," Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. The minister said that the presentation of a unified budget will help present a holistic picture of the financial position of the government."It will allow Ministry of Finance greater elbow room at the time of mid-year review for better allocation of resources," Gohain poited out.On September 21, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to end the 92-year-old tradition of presenting a separate budget for the Railways.
The merger of rail and general budgets was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Bibek Debroy, NITI Aayog member, and a separate paper on 'Dispensing with the Railway Budget' by Bibek Debroy along with Kishore Desai.Highlighting the salient features of the budget merger, the minister said: "Ministry of Railways will continue to function as a departmentally run commercial undertaking. And a separate statement of budget estimates and demand for grant will be created for Railways."He elaborated that the Railways will get exemption from payment of dividend to general revenues and its capital-at-charge would stand wiped off."Ministry of Finance will provide gross budgetary support to Ministry of Railways towards meeting part of its capital expenditure," Gohain added.