After 92 years, Rail Budget is history - The Smart Investor

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Integrated budgeting

This refers to the report “After 92 years,Rail Budget is history” (Business Standard, September 22). It is comforting to see that Modi Government is able to think beyond economic reforms (which, any government will have to do under compulsion in the present scenario) and spare time for considering refinements in processes and procedures affecting governance which did not get the attention they deserved in the past. The reforms in the planning process, not stopping with just a change in name to NITI Aayog, the work in progress in regard to revamp in procedures of top level appointments, the debate on synchronising period of conduct of election to all levels and the change in approach to Budget Exercise now announced are all indicative of a mind-set inherited from the pre-independence legacy.
The allegation that merger of Rail Budget with the Union Budget is motivated by the possibility of grabbing  Railways’ assets and reduced allocations for Railways and the suggestion that, now Railway ministry will be jobless come from those who maintained status quo and were afraid of change. It is true that the responsibility of the finance ministry increases and initially the union budget will have to be sufficiently transparent to prove that the Railways are better off, post-merger of budgets.
Now that planning has been made a long term exercise, the annual budget exercises both at the Centre and in states gain added significance. Budget document will have to factor in not only the conventional accounting of revenue and expenditure, but will have to graduate into a more comprehensive text which will give clarity about assets and liabilities at the beginning of the year, sources and uses of funds across sectors and the role of each sector, contributing to the GDP growth or draws resources from the tax revenue, in the economic development of the country. In essence, budgets should carry the Action Plans that will realise the growth objectives.

G Warrier, Mumbai


S.K.Gupta said…
The Indian Railways will henceforth be at the 'mercy' of the Finance Minister as all its budgetary aspects will be looked into by Arun Jaitley. Irrespective of what FM says, the financial autonomy of the Rail Ministry is going to be compromised. Moreover, the Railway Minister will alone have to face the public ire as and when he raises the passengers fares, which are bound to substantially go up in the near future. Why does the railway Minister not talk about fulfilling his long pending commitments to the rail passengers for bringing in the much needed improvements" in the basic amenities both within the trains and at the platforms. Has the innovative railway minister ever thought about visiting an sub-urban or rural based railway station in the country? Mind you, merely improving some nominal conditions at a few prominent railways stations alone won't do. More importantly, being a monoploy organisation, Indian railways must not exploit its hapless passengers in the name of refurbishing its financial coffers in its bid to run "BULLET TRAINS" in the country more so when it can't safely run its existing trans which carry the dubious distinction of being highly accident prone despite running on normal speed.

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