Budget 2018: Four years ago when the country and the economy were going through one of its toughest times, the BJP stormed to power on the promise of development and ‘achhe din’. Now, with the elections just a year away, it comes as no surprise that the focus of the Budget 2018 has been on enticing the electorate through populist schemes such as farmer support, free gas connections, health insurance and others. Having said that, it’s also very heartening to see that the government has continued with its development agenda through increase in infrastructure spending. The biggest beneficiary seems to be the railway sector (including metro) where the total allocation has increased from Rs 1,38,000 crore to Rs 1,65,000 crore.
Even the road sector (rural and urban) has seen an increase in allocation from Rs 1,37,000 crore to Rs 1,52,000 crore. Though the actual spend on roads will be much higher as the government has in the past awarded an increasing number of projects on the PPP mode and is expected to continue with that. Besides increasing the road awards, emphasis has also been on executing projects with the government expected to build about 9,000+ kms of roads this year. Finally, finance minister Arun Jaitley also alluded to monetisation of projects through ToT & INVITs, completing the investment cycle.
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Overall, with the government having already articulated its plan through Bharatmala and now with a clear budgetary allowance to execute it, looks like ‘achhe din’ for the sector will continue. This thrust on spending will stimulate the larger economy while creating long-term assets for the country. The investment in infrastructure today will help India’s dream of becoming a global superpower one day.
–Rohan Suryavanshi (Director, strategy and planning, Dilip Buildcon)