• Union Budget 2017: Big infrastructure push to spur growth

    The Union Budget has allotted a lion’s share of Rs 3.96 lakh crore for infrastructure development, terming it as a top priority area for the government. Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the magnitude of investment in the space is bound to spur growth.

    Terming railways, roads and rivers as the “lifeline” of the country, the finance minister while presenting the Budget for 2017-18, said, “Total allocation for infrastructure stands at a record level Rs 3,96,135 crore in 2017-18.”

    The allocation for infrastructure in 2016-17 Budgetary estimate was Rs 3,48,952 crore which was revised to Rs 3,58,634 crore.

    “This magnitude of investment will spur a huge amount of economic activity across the country and create more job opportunities,” he said. He enhanced the allocation for highways sector by 12 per cent to Rs 64,900 crore for 2017-18.

    Highways sector, which has been one of the priority areas of the government, had a budgetary estimate of Rs 57,976 crore for this fiscal, which was revised to Rs 52,447 crore.

    “In the road sector, I have stepped up the Budget allocation for highways from Rs 57,976 crore in budgetary estimate 2016-17 to Rs 64,900 crore in 2017-18,” Mr Jaitley said while tabling the Budget.

    The Budget has a significant focus on the airports development, with the finance minister informing that a select few airports from tier-II cities will be developed through the public-private partnership mode.

    In addition to this, a new Metro rail policy will also be on the anvil, which will focus on innovative models of financing such projects and their implementation.

    The finance minister noted that infrastructure was the thrust area of the government for efficiency, productivity and quality of life and approach was to spend more on infrastructure development.

    Terming the Budget as a “revolutionary Budget” in the history of India, road transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said infrastructure space has been a major beneficiary of the budget and accordingly government is giving topmost priority in developing the sectors be it highways, waterways or multimodal hubs.

    He said work worth Rs 4.71 lakh crore is already on in the sector and pace would be accelerated to augment highways, waterways and shipping sectors adding that a massive Sagarmala project for port-led coastal economic development is already underway.

    Mr Jaitley further said the World Bank is more optimistic and has projected a GDP growth of 7 per cent in 2016-17, 7.6 per cent in 2017-18 and 7.8 per cent in 2018-19. “…This pick up in our economy is premised upon our policy and determination to continue with economic reforms, increase in public investment in infrastructure and development projects,” the finance minister said.

    “Railways, roads and rivers are the lifeline of our country. I feel privileged to present the first combined Budget of independent India that includes the railways also. We are now in a position to synergise the investments in railways, roads, waterways and civil aviation. For 2017-18, the total capital and development expenditure of railways has been pegged at Rs 1,31,000 crore. This includes Rs 55,000 crore provided by the government,” he added

    Mr Jaitley said for transportation sector as a whole, including rail, roads, shipping, a provision of Rs 2,41,387 crore has been made in 2017-18. Thomas Morstead Womens Jersey

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