Congress questions move for rail, general budgets merger

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday questioned the government’s move to merge the railway budget with the general budget and said that the focus instead should be on bringing about a turnaround in the railways.

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said it was not clear how the merger will help the railways.

“What really needs to be the government’s priority is to ensure there are some firm policies in place where the railways can manage to make a turnaround,” Chaturvedi told IANS.

The government on Wednesday announced to do away with a 92-year-old colonial legacy of separate general and railway budgets by unifying them and doing away with differentiated plan and non-plan expenditure.

Chaturvedi said: “The railways has periodically effected fare increase but passenger flow is not increasing. It also added new capacities for coal transportation but that too has not picked up, causing it a loss of over Rs 3,000 crore.”

Taking a potshot at the government’s move to advance the presentation of the general budget, the Congress leader said: “Dates do not bring about changes; policies and the initiatives bring changes.”

The government should instead focus on new policies and initiatives,” she added.

BJP leaders however described the merger as a historic decision for economic reforms.

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted: “Merger of general and rail budgets is a major decision of the Narendra Modi government for economic reforms. It will boost the economic progress.”

BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said: “It is an end of a colonial legacy. The merger will save much time and effort which can be used for ushering in more development and further boost economic progress.”

–IANS

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