Millennium Post

Focus on infrastructure for economic development, `103 lakh cr infra projects launched under NIP: FM

New Delhi: To augment India's infrastructure and create jobs, the government has launched Rs 103 lakh crore infra projects besides providing about Rs 1.70 lakh crore for transport infrastructure and accelerating highways construction, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday.

Sitharaman said focus is on infrastructure for economic development and 6,500 projects across sectors under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) envisions ease of living for citizens.

"In his Independence Day speech 2019, Prime Minister had highlighted that Rs 100 lakh crore would be invested on infrastructure over the next 5 years. As a follow-up measure, I had launched the NIP on December 31, 2019 of Rs 103 lakh crore. It consists of more than 6500 projects across sectors and are classified as per their size and stage of development," she said. About Rs 22,000 crore has already been provided, as support to Infrastructure Pipeline, she added.

Terming the budget growth-oriented, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said it has given a massive boost to investment in infrastructure, which in turn would help revive industrial production and generate employment opportunities, crating more that 2 crore jobs. These new projects will include housing, safe drinking water, access to clean and affordable energy, health-care, educational institutes, railway stations, airports, bus terminals, metro and railway transportation, logistics and warehousing, irrigation projects, etc.

The National Infrastructure Pipeline envisions improving the ease of living for each individual citizen in the country, she said and added it will bring in generic and sectoral reforms in development, operation and maintenance of these infrastructure projects.

Also she said: "I propose to provide about Rs 1.70 lakh crore for transport Infrastructure in 2020-21."

The FM emphasised that a huge employment opportunity exists for India's youth in construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure and National Skill Development Agency will give special thrust to infrastructure-focused skill development opportunities.

"I propose to set up a project preparation facility for infrastructure projects. This programme would actively involve young engineers, management graduates and economists from our Universities. It is also proposed to direct all infrastructure agencies of the government to involve youth-power in start-ups. They will help in rolling out value added services in quality public infrastructure for citizens," she said.

A National Logistics Policy will be released soon, she said.

Besides, accelerated development of highways will be undertaken which will include development of 2,500-km access control highways, 9,000-km of economic corridors, 2,000-km of coastal and land port roads and 2,000-km of strategic highways. Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and two other packages would be completed by 2023 and work on Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway would also be started.

She said under electronic tolling on national highways, FASTag mechanism enables greater commercialisation of highways so that NHAI can raise more resources. "I propose to monetise at least twelve lots of highway bundles of over 6000-km before 2024," she said.

Indian Railways, she said aims to achieve electrification of 27,000-km of tracks. Besides, more Tejas type trains will connect iconic tourist destinations and high-speed train between Mumbai to Ahmedabad would be actively pursued. On ports, she said the government would consider corporatising at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges.

Saying Inland Waterways received a boost in the last five years, the FM announced the JalVikasMargon National Waterway-1 will be completed and further, the 890 Km Dhubri-Sadiya connectivity will be done by 2022.

About air traffic, she said 100 more airports would be developed by 2024 to support Udaan scheme and it is expected that the air fleet number shall go up from the present 600 to 1,200 during this time.

She proposed "about Rs 22,000 crore to power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21."

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