The Ministry of Railways in India is in charge of the Indian Railways, the state-owned company that enjoys a monopoly in rail transport in India. As of May 2009, the ministry is headed by the Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Important leaders such as John Mathai, N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Madhu Dandavate, Panampilly Govinda Menon, Madhavrao Scindia, C K Jaffar Sharief, Lalu Prasad Yadav have served as Minister of Railways.
The Railway Board, which is the apex body of the Indian Railways reports to this ministry. On August 1 2007, Ramesh Chandra took over as the Chairman of the Railway Board.
Thanks to historical reasons, the Ministry of Railways presents a budget separate from the general budget of India. The practice started in 1924. At the time, 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 the national budget. Though the Railway budget can no longer be justified as a separate budget presentation, it is still watched eagerly as the annual fare and tariff setting event.