The Budget for 2017-18 contains three major reforms.
- First, the presentation of the Budget has been advanced to 1st February to enable the Parliament to avoid a Vote on Account and pass a single Appropriation Bill for 2017-18, before the close of the current financial year. This would enable the Ministries and Departments to operationalise all schemes and projects, including the new schemes, right from the commencement of the next financial year. They would be able to fully utilise the available working season before the onset of the monsoon.
- Second, the merger of the Railways Budget with the General Budget is a historic step. We have discontinued the colonial practice prevalent since 1924. This decision brings the Railways to the centre stage of Government’s fiscal policy and would facilitate multi modal transport planning between railways, highways and inland waterways. The functional autonomy of Railways will, however, continue.
- Third, we have done away with the plan and non-plan classification of expenditure. This will give us a holistic view of allocations for sectors and ministries. This would facilitate optimal allocation of resources.