New Delhi: Speaking on the big budget reforms by the National Democratic Alliance-led (NDA) government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced the merger of Railway and General Budget from 2017-2018 onwards.
In a press conference held in New Delhi, Jaitley said, "Rail budget and General budget will be amalgamated from now. There will only be one budget. However its functional autonomy will continue to be maintained."
Jaitley continued and said, "All the proposals in regard to the Railways will be part of the General budget. The governmet will also take the initiative to have a discussion on the expediture each year so that there is an element of detailed parliamentary secrutiny and accountability."
"Budget reforms will also include merger of the Plan and the Non-Plan classification in the budget and account," Jaitley added.
Cabinet has also approved the advancing presentation of the annual Budget by a month.
Speaking about the budget dates, Jaitley said, "While we are in principle, in favour of finishing the entire financial business of the government before 31st of March so that the implementation can begin from 1st April and the expenditure and taxation proposals can begin, the actual dates will be decided after a consultation depending on the calender of the State Assembly elections."
"Cabinet has also given ex-post facto approval to enhancement of Pension for Freedom Fighters and their eligible dependants. The revised scale of pension has taken effect from Independence Day 2016," Jaitley added.
Reacting on the budget reforms, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, "Merging rail budget and general budget won't do any good, it will lose its autonomy."