New Delhi: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh is of the view that time has come to do away with the colonial idea of having a separate Budget for Railways as it accounts for just six per cent of the total government expenditure.
"...The Railway budget is a colonial idea whose time is over. Today, Railway expenditure accounts for only six per cent of the general expenditure of the government...Why should we have a separate budget for the Railways?," he said participating in a discussion on the Railway Budget in Rajya Sabha today.
Ramesh also held the separate budget as "the root cause" of the financial disaster in the Railways and said that as long as the practice remains, the turnaround of the Railways was not possible.
During British era in early twenties of the last century, the tradition of presenting a separate budget for the Railways started perhaps because it was the largest industrial asset of the country then.
Ramesh suggested Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give a "serious thought" to the idea of abolishing the separate budget for the Railways.
Stating that the Railways spend around 28,000 crore on social obligations in a year, Ramesh suggested that the fund should come from the general budget.
Ramesh also disapproved the idea of introducing bullet trains, saying time is not ripe for starting such trains in India.