NEW DELHI: The Estimates Committee of the Parliament has given concurrence to the Ministry of Finance for presenting one consolidated Budget and doing away with the classification of Plan and Non-Pan expenditure. The statutory committee has also stated that the concurrence is subject to the stipulations that the Ministry of Railways will continue to enjoy the same financial and functional autonomy.
The Parliamentary panel has also stated that the Railway Board would prepare the Rail Budget and forward the same to the Ministry of Finance for incorporation in the consolidated budget. “The Railways will get Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for modernization, expansion, safety and security works,” the panel said while stressing that the Railways would not be required to pay dividend to the Central government.
Further, the parts of the Budget dedicated to the Railways would continue to be discussed in both the Houses of Parliament for at least the same duration as discussed hitherto during the Budget session, the panel noted. The Committee has also cautioned against the possible adverse consequences of excessive concentration of financial powers in the Ministry of Finance. It recommended that the advice of the NITI Ayog should be given due importance and consideration in the matter of allocation of resources.
The Estimate Committee headed by the BJP veteran Murali Manohar Joshi has also stressed that comprehensive instructions be issued and the “General Financial Rules” suitably revised to avoid wrongful classification of revenues receipts and capital receipts and wrongful booking of expenditure.
The Estimates Committee is the only committee of parliament which can go into matters of policy and suggest the form in which Budget may be presented. The Estimates Committee, comprising of 30 MPs of Lok Sabha, has approved the proposal of the government subject to the stipulations it has specified in its report.