Budget 2020

Big push for infrastructure growth

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Nearly ₹6 lakh crore allocated; 35,000 km of road construction planned

Budget 2018-19 has allocated ₹5.97 lakh crore for infrastructure, a sector the government considers the growth driver of the economy.

Estimating over ₹50 lakh crore investment to increase the GDP growth and connect the nation with a network of roads, airports, railways, ports and inland waterways, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced an increase of budgetary allocation on infrastructure for 2018-19 to ₹5.97 lakh crore against the estimated expenditure of ₹4.94 lakh crore in 2017-18.

The Finance Ministry would leverage the India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) to help finance major infrastructure projects, he added.

Exuding confidence regarding completing the National Highways exceeding 9,000 kilometres during 2017-18, he said under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ for seamless connectivity of interior and backward areas and borders of the country, about 35,000 km of road would be constructed in Phase-I at an estimated cost of ₹5.35 lakh crore.

To raise equity from the market for its mature road assets, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would consider organising its road assets into Special Purpose Vehicles and use innovative monetising structures like Toll, Operate and Transfer and Infrastructure Investment Funds, Mr. Jaitley said. The government said it had given permission to bodies like the NHAI and the Metro to raise bonds from the market.

Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank, said “the government has maintained its focus on creating infrastructure with an aim to catapult India on to a higher and sustainable growth path.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:49:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/big-push-for-infrastructure-growth/article22629086.ece

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