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Merging Railway Budget with General Budget not a pro-privatisation move: PM

Last Modified Tuesday, 7 February 2017 (15:14 IST)
New Delhi: Prime Minister today said the decision of his government to merge with the from fiscal 2017-18 was not aimed at ushering in any privatisation era for country's largest transporter. "When the Rail budget was first presented 90 years ago....the transport sector was different. Now things are different and a more comprehensive look is needed," the Prime Minister said in the Lok Sabha replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address to the joint sitting of Parliament.

Mr Modi said when his government took over powers, it was realised that there were 1500 announcements which were buried in papers only. "There is no privatisation move in this," he said. He said it is always prudent to move with the times and pointed out that even Atal Behari Vajpayee-led regime had changed the norms of presentation of general budget at 5 pm. "Most of us may not know, the norm of 5 pm Budget presentation continued after Independence as a legacy of the past colonial era....because British parliament had the system.
This was changed and brought to 11 am during Vajpayee government," he said, adding thus the government took the decision to merge Railway Budget with the General Budget and also advanced the Budget presentation to first week of February. On MNREGA, which was the flagship scheme of the UPA dispensation, the Prime Minister said the changes being brought in the scheme were aimed at ensuring improvement in the rural job scheme. Even during UPA regime, he said as many as 1,035 changes were brought in the scheme.
The Prime Minister said sensible handling of payment disbursement process and linking various benefits to the beneficiaries' accounts helped save huge amount of money drained out to the middlemen. This was across schemes from the widow's pension to students' scholarship, he said. Mr Modi urged political parties to give serious thought to the suggestion made in the Presidential address for simultaneous elections to the state assemblies and Parliament. "The simultaneous elections will also save huge amount that is spent during elections," Mr Modi said. (UNI)
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