Continuing with its thrust on infrastructure development, the government plans to spend a record R3,96,135 crore in 2017-18, up by a little over 10% from the revised estimate of 2016-17, and offer a booster shot to affordable housing by granting it the infrastructure status.
Barring railways, total allocation for the rest of the infrastructure sector has been budgeted at R2.75 lakh crore for 2017-18, 16% higher than the R2.37 lakh crore provided for in 2016-17 (BE).
The transportation sector that includes rail, roads and shipping will get the lion’s share of the allocation for 2017-18 at R2,41,387 crore. Total spends on the transportation sector in 2016-17 has been estimated at R2,16,903 crore while the BE for the transport sector in 2016-17 was at R2,16,268 crore.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, however, kept allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana unchanged at R19,000 crore, although he stepped up allocation for highways by 12% to R64,900 crore from R57,976 crore budgeted in 2016-17.
The pace of construction of PMGSY roads in 2016-17 stands at 133 km/day, against a per day average of 73 km during 2011-2014. The improvement in the pace of construction in recent years gets reflected in the fact that the total length of roads, including those under PMGSY, built since 2014-15 is as high as 1,40,000 km.
Contending that railways, roads and rivers are the lifeline of our country, Jaitley has also enhanced fund allocation on Sagarmala project to R600 crore for 2017-18 from R406 crore in 2016-17.
He also said 2,000 kms of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development.
Stating that the proposed investment will spur a huge amount of economic activity across the country and create more job opportunities, Jaitley said a new and restructured central scheme with focus on export infrastructure would be launched in 2017-18. This would reduce the transaction cost of the traders and raise the competitiveness of Indian exporters.
The government also wants to draw up and implement a specific programme for the development of multi-model logistics parks.