Budget: 100 new airports, rail electrification figure in infra boost

Besides its ₹103-lakh-crore worth national infrastructure pipeline (NIP) projects, the government has allocated ₹1.7 lakh crore for transport infrastructure.

infrastructure port ship construction
On ports, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government would consider corporatising at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges | iStock

The government has planned a major boost to infrastructure development in the country in the Union Budget, continuing its ₹103-lakh-crore worth national infrastructure pipeline (NIP) project plan launched on the last day of the last year.

This includes ₹1.7 lakh crore for transport infrastructure, plan to build 100 more airports, electrification of 27,000-km of tracks, besides a major push for renewable energy.

Presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 in Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the focus is on infrastructure for economic development and 6,500 projects across sectors under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) envisions ease of living for citizens.

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“In his Independence Day speech 2019, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had highlighted that Rs 100 lakh crore would be invested on infrastructure over the next 5 years. As a follow-up measure, I had launched the NIP on December 31, 2019 of Rs 103 lakh crore. It consists of more than 6500 projects across sectors and are classified as per their size and stage of development,” she said.

Also read | Govt unveils ₹102 lakh crore infra push to make India $5 tn economy

About Rs 22,000 crore has already been provided, as support to Infrastructure Pipeline, she added.

Terming the budget growth-oriented, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said it has given a massive boost to investment in infrastructure, which in turn would help revive industrial production and generate employment opportunities, creating more than 2 crore jobs.

The National Infrastructure Pipeline envisions improving the ease of living for each individual citizen in the country, she said and added it will bring in generic and sectoral reforms in development, operation and maintenance of these infrastructure projects.

These new projects will include housing, safe drinking water, access to clean and affordable energy, health-care, educational institutes, railway stations, airports, bus terminals, metro and railway transportation, logistics and warehousing, irrigation projects, etc.

The FM emphasised that a huge employment opportunity exists for India’s youth in construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure and National Skill Development Agency will give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities.

“I propose to set up a project preparation facility for infrastructure projects. This programme would actively involve young engineers, management graduates and economists from our Universities. It is also proposed to direct all infrastructure agencies of the government to involve youth-power in start-ups. They will help in rolling out value added services in quality public infrastructure for citizens,” she said.

A National Logistics Policy will be released soon, she said. Besides, accelerated development of highways will be undertaken which will include development of 2,500-km access control highways, 9,000-km of economic corridors, 2,000-km of coastal and land port roads and 2,000-km of strategic highways.

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Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and two other packages would be completed by 2023 and work on Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway would also be started. She said under electronic tolling on national highways, FASTag mechanism enables greater commercialisation of highways so that NHAI can raise more resources.

“I propose to monetise at least twelve lots of highway bundles of over 6,000-km before 2024,” she said.

Indian Railways, she said aims to achieve electrification of 27,000-km of tracks. Besides, more Tejas type trains will connect iconic tourist destinations and high-speed train between Mumbai to Ahmedabad would be actively pursued.

On ports, she said the government would consider corporatising at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges.

Saying Inland Waterways received a boost in the last five years, the FM announced the JalVikasMargon National Waterway-1 will be completed and further, the 890 Km Dhubri-Sadiya connectivity will be done by 2022.

About air traffic, she said 100 more airports would be developed by 2024 to support Udaan scheme and it is expected that the air fleet number shall go up from the present 600 to 1,200 during this time. She proposed “about Rs 22,000 crore to power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21.”

(With agency inputs)

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