Railways no more a priority for Centre, says Nitish Kumar

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Patna (Bihar) [India], Sept. 21 (ANI): Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday slammed the Centre's move of merging the Railway Budget with the Union budget and said the railways are no more a priority for the ruling dispensation, adding that this will put an end to the autonomy of railways in India. Kumar told the media, that the merging of rail budget with the Union Budget will not benefit the Centre. "According to the Parliamentary tradition, the railway budget was normally presented separately and the governments, which had come to power, followed the tradition and gained benefit from the same," Kumar said. "As per my experience, merging rail budget with union budget will not benefit them and now the autonomy of railways will be over," he added. Stating that many people are emotionally attached with railways, Nitish Kumar said, "Indian Railways are indication of our nation's integration. And the railway had its own contribution since independence, as Gandhi ji also used to travel via rail.and till date it is the choice of a common man." Kumar further accused the Centre and said, "I think that railway is no more a priority for them and I guess they should reconsider this move." Earlier, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the merger of the annual railway budget with the Union budget. "Rail budget and General budget will be amalgamated from now, there will only be one budget," said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while addressing a press conference. "However its functional autonomy will continue to be maintained," he added. The finance ministry had proposed that the budget be presented on February 1 as opposed to the current practice of the last working day of February, allowing the process to be completed before the new financial year begins. If the budget is presented one month early, the process can be over by the time the fiscal year starts. A joint committee was set up to finalise the modalities for the merger of Railway Budget with the General Budget. This merger will help Railways save around Rs 10,000 crore annually as it will no longer have to pay dividend if the separate Rail Budget is scrapped. (ANI)