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    Finance Ministry accepts the proposal to merge Rail Budget with the General Budget

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    The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley accepted the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu’s proposal to merge Rail Budget with the General Budget. The move will put an end to the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Rail Budget from the next fiscal onwards. According to railways, the Finance Ministry has now constituted a five-member committee comprising senior officials of the Ministry and the national transporter to work out the modalities for the merger. The committee has been asked to submit its report by August 31. The public sector behemoth has to bear an additional burden of about Rs 40,000 crore on account of implementation of the 7th Pay Commission awards, besides an annual outgo of Rs 32,000 crore on subsidies. Besides, the delay in completion of projects resulted in cost overrun of Rs 1.07 lakh crore and huge throw-forward of Rs 1.86 lakh crore in respect of 442 ongoing rail projects. If the merger happens, Indian Railway will get rid of the annual dividend it has to pay for gross budgetary support from the government every year. The merger move is significant as it is expected to have political implications also.

    Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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