New Delhi, Feb 1: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present Union Budget 2018 on Thursday. Like last time, the Railways Budget will not be presented separately or an additional Budget speech be delivered; instead Arun Jaitley will read the speech for all the departments of the government. For Railways, modernisation, safety, network extension and public amenities will be in prime focus. Also Read - Finance Act 2018 Clarifies Applicability of Standard Deduction For Pensioners
In 2017, the Modi government end the 92-year-old practice of tabling separate Railways Budget, merging it with the Union Budget. The Railways Budget was use to please voters in the state of the ministers. However, now the Finance Ministry looks after budgetary allocations of all the departments including the Ministry of Railways. The move was taken after a NITI Aayog committee headed by economist Bibek Debroy recommended that the Railways will not have to give annual dividend to the government in the budgetary support. (Also read: Budget 2018: Income Tax Slabs, Exemption Limit And Rates in Last 10 Years) Also Read - List of Things That Will be More Expensive From April 1, 2018
Passenger safety will be the biggest requirement these days. 2017 saw some nasty accidents, which led Suresh Prabhu to recuse from his post of the Union Railways minister. Piyush Goyal, who succeeded Prabhu, faced similar situation. It is expected that the government will earmark large chunk of budgetary allocation on repairing old tracks and ramping up railway infrastructure. It was reported that the finance minister might announce installation of CCTV cameras in trains and stations. (Also read: Budget 2018: New Fast Trains Likely to be Announced) Also Read - Armed Forces Facing Shortage of 52,000 Soldiers, Army's 21,000 Posts Vacant: Govt
Nobody wants smelly toilets in trains and stations. Hence, cleanliness is the biggest expectation from the Budget. Hygienic and tasty food, bio toilets, e-ticket facility could feature in budgetary speech. New Trains were not announced last year, it is expected that new trains might be announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Other announcements which could be made includes wifi in trains and stations, world class new trains, high-speed railway corridors, and other passenger amenities. The common man hopes that the Modi government doesn’t increase passenger and freight fares.