Union Budget 2018: Infrastructure Sector
The government is planning to develop connectivity infrastructure in the border areas. While the construction on the Rohtang tunnel has been completed, the construction of Zojila pass tunnel is progressing well.
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on 1 February 2018 presented the Union Budget 2018 in the parliament. In the independent India, this will be the 88th budget and the fifth of the Modi Sarkar.
This year's budget session is crucial as it comes after government's two big financial decisions - demonetisation and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax. It will be also NDA government's last full budget presentation before next year's Lok Sabha elections.
The Budget 2018 has identified Infrastructure as one of the key drivers of the economy. Accordingly, Arun Jaitley announced following initiatives:
• Defence – The government is planning to develop connectivity infrastructure in the border areas. While the construction on the Rohtang tunnel has been completed, the construction of Zojila pass tunnel is progressing well.
• The government has also proposed to construct a tunnel under the Sela pass.
• Smart Cities mission - 99 cities have been selected with outlay of ₹2.09 lakh crore under Smart City programme.
• Government to preserve heritage cities through National Heritage Augmentation Yojana.
• Tourism – Government proposes to develop 10 tourists into iconic tourist spots through infrastructure development.
• Under AMRUT programme, the main focus to be on providing water supply to cities.
• Road infrastructure- Government to complete extension of national highways to about 9000 km.
• The government had also approved the Bharatmala project, which aims to provide seamless connectivity in backward and border areas.
• 10 prominent tourist sites will be developed into iconic ones to boost tourism.
• Rs 1. 48 lakh crore have been allocated for the Indian Railways for the year 2018-19.
• 18000 km of railway line will be doubled to eliminate capacity constraints.
• The government would be laying special focus on safety. Hence, special attention would be paid to the maintenance of track infrastructure.
• There would also be an increase in the use of technology such as fog, train protection and warning system.
• The Railways is planning to re-develop 600 major railway stations.
• All stations with more than 25000 footfall will have escalators. All stations will also be equipped with high-speed wifi.
• The Mumbai transport system will be expanded and augmented at a cost of Rs 11000 crores.
• A suburban network of 160 km is being planned for Bengaluru metropolitans.
• The government had previously laid the foundation of the high-speed bullet Mumbai-Ahmedabad train. An institute would be set up in Vadodara in Gujarat to train the manpower for the high-speed railway project.
• The regional connectivity scheme- UDAAN would be connecting 56 underserved airports and 36 underserved helipads in the country. The operation has already started in 16 such airports.
• AAI has 124 airports presently and it would be expanding its airport capacity more than 5 times to almost 1 billion trips a year.
• The government would also be setting up a coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure. The centre would be allocating Rs 60 crores to kick-start the initiative.