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  India   All India  02 Feb 2018  Budget 2018: Rs 5.97 lakh crore boost to infra, 99 cities to ‘turn’ smart

Budget 2018: Rs 5.97 lakh crore boost to infra, 99 cities to ‘turn’ smart

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 2, 2018, 1:05 am IST
Updated : Feb 2, 2018, 1:52 am IST

For Indian Railways, Jaitley said the government has allocated capital expenditure of Rs 1,48,528 crore for 2018-19.

Arun Jailtey also said the government will develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more visitors. (Photo: AFP | Representational)
 Arun Jailtey also said the government will develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more visitors. (Photo: AFP | Representational)

New Delhi: Clearly emphasising that infrastructure sector is the main catapult driving the Indian economy, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has hiked the allocation for the big ticket sector in the Union Budget by Rs 1 lakh crore to Rs 5.97 lakh crore for 2018-19.

The finance minister also underlined that urbanisation is opportunity and priority and said that the government has already launched Smart City mission that aims at creating state-of-the-art amenities.

“Ninety-nine cities have been selected at an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have started implementing various projects like smart roads, solar roof, intelligent transport system. Projects worth Rs 2,350 crore have been completed and work of Rs 20,850 crore has been under progress,” Mr Jaitley said, adding that heritage cities will be preserved and revitalised.

The minister in his Budget speech said India will need massive investments in roads, air, rail and inland waterways while hinting that the money would be raised through equity from the market.

“Infrastructure is the growth driver of the economy. Our country needs massive investment in access of Rs 50 lakh crore in infrastructure to increase growth of GDP and integrate the nation with a network of roads, airports, railways, inland water and to provide good quality services to the people,” the finance minister said.

Tabling the Narendra Modi government’s last full Budget ahead of 2019 general elections, Mr Jaitley said the priority accorded to the sector was evident from the fact that the Prime Minister is personally monitoring infrastructure project targets and achievements.

“The Prime Minister personally reviews the target and achievements in infrastructure sector on a regular basis. Using online monitoring system of Pragati alone, projects worth Rs 9.46 lakh crore have been facilitated and fast-tracked,” the Union finance minister said.

The budgetary allocation for the ministry of road transport and highways has been increased to Rs 71,000 crore for 2018-19 from Rs 64,900 crore in the ongoing fiscal.

Mr Jaitley in his Budget speech said, “For promoting tourism and medical care, the government will make necessary framework for encouraging investment in seaplanes activities.”

Also asserting that the government has laid an all-time high allocation for railway and road sectors, the finance minister said the government is committed to further augmenting the infrastructure.

National Highways exceeding 9,000 km will be completed in 2018-19, he said and highlighted the Bharatmala Scheme, which has been approved for providing seamless connectivity to interior and backward areas and borders of the country. Under Phase-I of the project, 35,000 km of highways would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crore. He also said the NHAI will consider organising road assets into SPV.

For Indian Railways, he said the government has allocated capital expenditure of Rs 1,48,528 crore for 2018-19, and all trains will soon have state-of-the-art facilities such as Wi-Fi and CCTVs.

Regarding airports, Mr Jaitley said the government will improve their capacity across the country. He said the push will also be towards the government’s regional connectivity scheme that has already connected 16 new airports and will connect 56 unserved airports and 31 helipads.

The finance minister also underlined that urbanisation is opportunity and priority and said that the government has already launched Smart City mission that aims at creating state-of-the-art amenities.

“Ninety-nine cities have been selected at an outlay of Rs 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have started implementing various projects like smart roads, solar roof, intelligent transport system. Projects worth Rs 2,350 crore have been completed and work of Rs 20,850 crore has been under progress,” Mr Jaitley said, adding that heritage cities will be preserved and revitalised.

He also said the government will develop 10 tourist destinations to attract more visitors.

Tags: arun jaitley, union budget 2018-19, smart city
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi