Budget 2022

Union Budget 2022 | National Highways to be expanded by 25,000 km in next fiscal

Representational image only.

With the Budget speech laying emphasis on infrastructure development for economic growth and job creation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways saw a 68% increase in budgetary allocation for the next fiscal.

 

The Ministry has been allocated ₹1,99,107.71 crore for financial year 2022-2023 compared with ₹1,18,101 crore in last year’s Budget estimate.

A large chunk of the additional ₹81,000 crore granted to the Ministry this year is earmarked for investment in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), with its allocation seeing a 133% increase (₹76,665 crore) to ₹1,34,015 crore.

 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set a target of expanding the National Highways network in the country by 25,000 km in 2022-2023 from 12,000 km for fiscal year 2022. But this doesn’t mean a doubling of the annual target for National Highways.

“The target of 25,000 km includes addition to the network and development of existing roads,” Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, told The Hindu . He added that port connectivity and the World Bank’s greenfield highway programme are some of the other components.

The total expenditure for roads is ₹2,54,108 crore, said the senior official. The money needed over and above the budgetary support will come from private sector investments.

According to the Finance Minister, ₹20,000 crore will be raised through “innovative ways of financing to complement the public resources”. The Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT), securitisation and “green highway” could be some of these creative mechanisms, Mr. Aramane explained, adding that the Ministry will explore green bonds for financing highways. The NHAI recently raised ₹8,000 crore through its first InvIT in November.

 

Ms. Sitharaman identified the PM Gati Shakti programme as a top priority for the government, out of a total of four priorities that included inclusive development, productivity enhancement and financing of investment. Announced in October 2021, the programme envisages a digital platform with a national masterplan of various infrastructure Ministries by bringing 16 Ministries, including Railways, Roadways, Shipping and Aviation, as well as the States together for integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.

 

“The touchstone of the Master Plan will be world-class modern infrastructure and logistics synergy among different modes of movement — both of people and goods — and location of projects. This will help raise productivity and accelerate economic growth and development,” the Finance Minister said.

 

The “PM GatiShakti Master Plan for Expressways” will be formulated in 2022-23 to facilitate faster movement of people and goods. One hundred cargo terminals will also be facilitated under the programme during the next three years.

A National Ropeways Development Programme will be taken up on public-private-partnership mode to improve connectivity in hilly areas under which eight ropeway projects projects for a length of 60 km will be awarded in 2022-23. The FM said ropeways “may also cover congested urban areas, where conventional mass transit system is not feasible”.

 

Contracts for four multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs) in Nagpur, Chennai, Bengaluru and Indore will also be awarded in 2022-23. In 2017, the Union Cabinet approved 35 MMLPs for the country. The FM said that ₹1 lakh crore was being allocated to assist the States for catalysing overall investments in the economy and that this would be used for PM Gati Shakti-related projects, funding for PM Gram Sadak Yojana, and other productive capital investments of the States.


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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 11:24:10 am | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/union-budget-2022-national-highways-to-be-expanded-by-25000km-says-fm-sitharaman/article38357781.ece