Ministry of Railways (India)
The Ministry of Railways is a ministry in the Government of India, responsible for the country's rail transport. The ministry operates the state-owned Indian Railways, an organisation that operates as a monopoly in rail transport and is headed by the Chairman of Railway Board. The ministry is headed by the Minister of Railways, a cabinet-level minister who presents the rail budget every year in parliament.
Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, the seat of the Ministry of Railways
|Formed||16 April 1853|
|Jurisdiction||Government of India|
1, Raisina Road
|Annual budget||₹55,088 crore (US$7.7 billion) (2018-19 est.) |
|Deputy Ministers responsible|
There is one Union Minister of Railways, and one Minister of State for Railways. Manoj Sinha and Rajen Gohain are the current Minister of State for Railways. The Railway Board, which is the apex body of the Indian Railways reports to the Minister of Railways. The Railway Board comprises one Chairman, five "members of the Railway Board.", and a Financial Commissioner (who is the representative of the Ministry of Finance in the Railway Board). It also includes a Director-General (Signal & Telecom), Director-General (Railway Health Services) and a Director-General (Railway Protection Force). A number of directorates report to the Railway Board.
The East India Railway Committee, chaired by Sir William Acworth, hence also known as the Acworth Committee, pointed out the need for unified management of the entire railway system. On the recommendations of this committee and ratification of the resolution for separation in 1924, the government took over the actual management of all the railways, and also separated the railway finances from the general governmental finances, leading to the practice of presenting the Railway Budget separately from the general budget of India every year. The Railway Board was expanded to have a Financial Commissioner, a member in charge of ways, works, stores and projects, and a member in charge of administration, staff, and traffic. Accordingly, from 1 April 1929, the responsibility for the compilation of accounts for the Railways was taken over by the Financial Commissioner, Railways from the Auditor General.
In 1924, the railway budget formed about 70% of the country's budget. So separating it out allowed better focus on each budget's priorities. The Railway Budget now is less than 15% of India's national budget. The presentation of the Railway budget is of interest to the people, because the introduction of new train services, fare changes and tariffs are announced at this time. Each year, the railway budget is made available for viewing.