The newly set up Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) for the road sector is likely to meet for the first time on Monday to chalk out the financing plan for development of various highways projects next fiscal.

Next financial year the government intends to award projects for developing 12,000 km of roads, which will require around Rs 1 lakh crore.

One of the issues that the EGoM in its maiden meeting is expected to look at, is raising the present cap of Rs 50 lakh on investment by an individual in 54 EC bonds, one of the sources of funds for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for road development.

“We have suggested to the Finance Ministry to increase the cap to Rs 2 crore in the past two years...may be, with the Finance Minister being part of the EGoM, it will be considered this time,” a senior government official told PTI.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Transport Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia constitute the EGoM.

A committee, headed by Planning Commission Member B K Chaturvedi, has said the cap on the investment in 54 EC bonds is a constrain and NHAI requires tax free bonds with 10 years maturity, deep discount bonds, SLR bonds and long line of credit from Life Insurance Corporation and pension funds.

The EGoM is likely to consider such options in its meeting.

The B K Chaturvedi Committee has also estimated that the development and maintenance of national highways will require an investment of about Rs 8.13 lakh crore till 2030-31.

Various recommendations of the Chaturvedi Committee, which was constituted in August by the Prime Minister to expedite road projects, were accepted with the rider that the financing plan from next fiscal would be considered by the EGoM.

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