Merger of rail budget with main budget helps Railways to avoid public scrutiny of its failures, says Vivian Fernandes


Merger of rail budget with main budget helps Railways to avoid public scrutiny of its failures, says Vivian Fernandes

Of the 98 paragraphs of finance minister Piyush Goyal’s Interim Budget speech, two were about the Railways. In a relatively short speech meant to gladden various sections of voters, more was not expected. The details which a separate Railway budget provided were missing.

The practice of presenting a separate Railway budget was discontinued after 2016 as the event had become an occasion for grandstanding by ministers at the expense of the Railways. “Should commercial viability be the sole criterion to judge this need for connectivity,” Mamata Banerjee asked in her 2011-12 speech, and stated that she preferred “social responsibility.”

There was something in that budget for everyone, including two Tagore museums. Banerjee represented a procession of railway ministers who regarded the Railways as also being in the business of bulk haulage. Read More

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