In an attempt to encourage multi-modal transportation Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the government was in a position to synergise investments in rail, road and port sectors and has earmarked an allocation of Rs 3,96,135 crore for the infrastructure sector.
Of the total budgetary support, highways sector alone would get an allocation of Rs 2,41,387 crore.
The pace of road construction in the country has gone substantially up to 133 km per day in 2016-17, as against 73 km per day in 2013-14.
Jaitley said habitations in the left wing extremist areas would be connected to the highways.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), government’s flagship rural road connectivity scheme has received an allocation of Rs 19,000 crore taking the total number, Budget Highlights 2017 including states’ contribution) to Rs 27,000 crore.
“The set of initiatives announced seem to acknowledge the challenge that Railways is losing share in both freight and premium passenger services to alternate modes of transport. The introduction of accounting reforms will also facilitate better management control systems, to track performance improvement of the Railways,” Biswanath Bhattacharya, partner, Infrastructure and Government Services, KPMG said.
The railway capital investment has been pegged at Rs 1,31,000 crore and the government would provide Rs 55,000 crore.
Besides roads and railways, about 2,000 km of coastal connectivity projects have been envisaged by the government.
On the rural electrification and promotion of renewable energy front, Jaitley said that the government was on track to achieve 100 per cent rural electrification by May 2018 and the second phase of solar development would start with 20,000 MW of solar power projects.
“The push on Phase 2 of the national solar programme of 20,000 MW reiterates the government’s commitment to this sector,” said Santosh Kamath, Partner and Head of Renewables, KPMG in India.