New Delhi: Railways minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said that he himself had volunteered for the clubbing of the railways budget with the general budget, and it was “not a take over" by the finance ministry.

Ending a nearly century-old practice of having a separate budget for railways, the government from the current fiscal merged it with the general budget, which was presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February. During an interaction with PTI, Prabhu was talking about the vision for making the public transport more efficient and profitable. He said there was only one source of funds for the railways, and that was the budget. “Arun Jaitley will always say I have so many priorities and rightly so. If I were the finance minister I will say the same thing," he said.

To a question on the merger of the rail budget with the Union Budget, the minister said: “I voluntarily gave it up. It was not a takeover. It was a voluntary merger". A separate budget for railways has been presented to Parliament since 1924 even though neither the Constitution nor legal requirements call for a separate budget. The practice has now been discontinued. PTI

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