India’s Rail Budget is the Annual Financial Statement of the state-owned Indian Railways, which handles rail transport in India. It is presented every year by the Minister of Railways, representing the Ministry of Railways, in the parliament, a few days before the Union budget of India, till 2016.
The first Railway budget:
Following the recommendation of the 10 Member-Acworth Committee in 1920-21, headed by British railway economist William Acworth. The “Acworth Report” led to re-organisation of railways, the railway finances of India were separated from the general government finances in 1921.
After that in 1924 the budget was announced. A practice which continued in independent India till 2016.
Railway budget – Mile stones:
First live telecast of railway budget took place on 24 March 1994. Lalu Prasad Yadav, who remained Railways Minister from 2004 to May 2009, presented the railway budget 6 times in a row. In 2009, under his tenure a ₹108 billion (US$1.6 billion) budget was passed
In the year 2000, Mamata Banerjee, became the first women Railway Minister of India. In the year 2002 Mamata Banerjee became the first female Minister of Railways (India) to present the Railway budget for two different central governments (NDA and UPA).
In 2014 railway budget, Railway Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda presented first railway budget of Narendra Modi government which contained the announcement of the first bullet train and 9 High-Speed Rail of India.
Railway Budget 2016 was presented on 25 February 2016 By Suresh Prabhu, thus became the last railway minister to have presented a Budget and Arun Jaitley will be the first finance minister to present a combined one next year.
The government on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 approved merger of the rail and general budgets from next year, ending a 92-year-old practice of a separate budget for the country’s largest transporter.
The end of a separate Budget will be a relief for the Railways, since its revenue deficit and capital expenditure will now get transferred to the Finance Ministry.
With the scrapping of the rail budget, the Railways will also not have to pay a special dividend to the government for getting gross budgetary support. The Railways pays about Rs. 10,000 crore as dividend a year after getting about Rs. 40,000 crore.