Budget 2019: Govt plans comprehensive restructuring of national highway programme

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Published: July 6, 2019 3:32:51 AM

Union Budget 2019: The aim is to significantly improve logistics, reduce the cost of transportation and increase competitiveness of locally manufactured goods.

Union Budget 2019 India, Budget 2019-20Union Budget 2019 India: The government will carry out a comprehensive restructuring of national highway programme to ensure that the national highway grid of desirable length and capacity is created using financeable model.

Union Budget 2019: All forms of physical connectivity like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, industrial corridors, dedicated freight corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, Jal Marg Vikas and Udan schemes will receive greater funding through 2019-20.

The aim is to significantly improve logistics, reduce the cost of transportation and increase competitiveness of locally manufactured goods.

For instance, allocation towards Sagarmala project, which leverages country’s coastline to drive industrial development, will increase from `381 crore for FY19 to `550 crore for 2019-20. Similarly, capital outlay towards Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has been raised by 22% to `18,925 crore in 2019-20 over 2018-19. It is envisaged to upgrade 1,25,000 kms of road length over the next five years, with an estimated cost of `80,250 crore
According to credit rating agency Crisil, budget allocation on transportation sector for 2019-20 at `2.89 lakh crore jumped 15% over the last year.

“The budget allocation for rail, road and airport sectors was `2.52 lakh crore. This year’s allocation is significantly higher that too coming on a high base. It shows that transportation remains a big focus area for the government,” Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, practice leader and director — Transport and Logistics, Crisil, noted.

The government will carry out a comprehensive restructuring of national highway programme to ensure that the national highway grid of desirable length and capacity is created using financeable model. After completing the Phase 1 of Bharatmala, in the second phase, the states will be helped to develop state road networks.

“To accelerate the speed of achieving universal connectivity of eligible habitations, the target of connecting the eligible and feasible habitations was advanced from 2022 to 2019. I am happy to inform that all weather connectivity has now been provided to over 97% of such habitations,” Sitharaman said in her maiden budget speech.

Jaideep Ghosh, partner & national head – Transport, Leisure & Sports at KPMG believes that effective implementation of budget proposals could fast track the $5 trillion dollar economy goal.

“Transport infrastructure is the backbone of an economy. The reforms proposed in infrastructure financing as well as the massive investment boost for transport infrastructure along with effective implementation will go a long way towards India realizing its dream of, becoming a $5trillion economy,” Ghosh said.

Ravinder Reddy, partner, Grant Thornton India said: “Focus on railways, national highways, rural roads, stations modernisation, regional airports, i-ways, and affordable housing using public-private partnership shall lead to faster development and completion of projects.”

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