Interim railway budget passed in LS without discussion

The Interim Railway Budget for 2014-15 was passed in the Lok Sabha without discussion amid din over Telangana issue.

Soon after Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented the Interim Union Budget, the Interim Railway Budget came up for discussion and passage.

Initiating the debate, Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP) said the interim Rail budget mainly catered to Congress' interests.

Noting that the government took a "casual approach" with regard to the interim Rail budget, he said that only casual announcements were made to appease the masses.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj wondered "what kind of government" is being run when ministers themselves were raising slogans in the Well during presentation of the interim budget.

Amid din created by members supporting a united Andhra Pradesh, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge moved the Supplementary Demands for Grants (Railways) 2013-14 and Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2014 for passage.

Union Ministers from Seemandhra D Purandeshwari, K Chiranjeevi and K S Rao were in the Well raising slogans.

BJP members were opposing the move to get the bills passed without a debate even as Trinamool Congress members stood near the Well demanding a three-year moratorium on interest on central loans.

As the pandemonium continued, the two bills were passed by voice vote.

The Interim Rail Budget for four months envisages Annual Rail Plan at Rs 64,305 crore with a budgetary support of Rs 30,223 crore.

In his budget speech on February 12, Kharge had said an independent Rail Tariff Authority is being set up to rationalise fares and there was a proposal to expand dynamic pricing of tickets in line with the airline industry.

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