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Cabinet approves merger of Rail, General Budget

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The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of Railway Budget with General Budget starting next year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

Addressing the media here after the Union Cabinet meet, Jaitley said the 92-year old practice of presenting a separate budget for Railways has been scrapped and proposals pertaining to it would now form part of the General Budget.

“The Cabinet has approved the merger of the Railway and General Budget. Both will be amalgamated. However, its (Railway Budget) functional autonomy will continue to be maintained,” he said.

To facilitate this, the Budget Session of parliament will be called sometime before January 25, a month ahead of the current practice.

The cabinet decision has scrapped over nine-decade old tradition of having a separate Railway Budget and removed classifications for expenditure to make the exercise simpler.

Jaitley further said that the government was in favor of advancing date of presentation of the Union Budget which is likely to be announced on Feb 1, 2017.

However, the exact date of presentation would be confirmed keeping calendar of state Assembly elections in mind.

Accordingly, the beginning of budget preparation will be advanced to early October and GDP estimates made available on January 7 instead of February 7 now.