Rail budget set to become a history? NITI Aayog recommends doing away with annual exercise

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Was the rail budget presented in February this year by Suresh Prabhu the last such exercise taking place in the parliament?

If the NITI Aayog’s recommendations are to to be implemented, then the tradition of rail budget looks all set to be a history.

The NDA government, according to Indian Express, has sought the Railway Ministry’s comments on a note sent by NITI Aayog to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), arguing in favour of doing away with the rail budget.

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Suresh Prabhu

Titled as “Dispensing with the Rail Budget,”  the note has be co-authored by Aayog member and economist Bibek Debroy and Officer on Special Duty, Kishore Desai.

The 20-page note said that the rail budget had effectively become a “mechanism to announce popular measures” while being of a no use to the sector.

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Quoting Rail Bhawan sources, the paper reported that the Department of Economic Affairs, the Finance Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary will also be part of ongoing deliberations on this issue.

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The note stated, “The Railway Budget became a mechanism to announce popular measures, new trains, new routes, new rolling-stock manufacturing factories etc., with no concomitant focus on addressing Railways’ structural requirements, implementation of the ‘grand’ announcements, or funding needs.”

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