Parliamentary panel to examine merger of budgets

P K Sinha, Lok Sabha , Rajya Sabha , Budget session, Pranab Mukherjee,
P K Sinha, Lok Sabha , Rajya Sabha , Budget session, Pranab Mukherjee,

With the Cabinet’s approving the merger of Railway Budget with General Budget, the parliamentary panel on finance has decided to ‘examine’ the move along with its “ramifications thereof”.

Ending a 92-year-old practice, the Central Cabinet had decided to scrap a separate budget for railways and merge it with General Budget, presentation of which would be advanced to spur spending and boost the economy.

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The Committee on Finance has selected the “Budgetary Reforms including Merger of Railways Budget with General Budget — Ramifications thereof,” according to the Lok Sabha bulletin dated September 22.

As part of a major overhaul of the budget process, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also decided to do away with classifications of expenditure into Plan and Non-Plan, making the exercise simpler.

To facilitate early presentation of the Budget, the finance ministry had proposed that the Budget Session of Parliament be convened sometime before January 25, a month ahead of the current practice.

The parliamentary panel headed by the Congress MP M Veerappa Moily, will review all the budgetary reforms.

The panel move comes after the Congress termed the decision to merge the two budgets as “cosmetic, superficial and non-substantive changes”.

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Besides the budget, the panel has also selected to review the disinvestment policy, banking sector in the country, Reserve Bank of India‘s emerging role and its framework.

The committee will also review the performance of regulatory bodies — Securities Board of India (SEBI), Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

Similarly, the performance of other bodies — Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd (SHCIL), National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), will also be reviewed.

The panel will also evaluate the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Central Statistical Office(CSO)and streamlining of statistics collection machinery in the country.


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