As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2019 for the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she showcased governement's particular focus on connectivity infrastructure. The Finance Minister gave a range of projects that the government is undertaking in improving connectivity that eventually improves investment. Finance Minister Sitharaman gave a list of projects that Government of India under the leadership of PM Modi is undertaking or proposing for thr development of water transport, road transport, air transport and rail transport. She estimated the budget of 100 lakh crores in for the sector.
Praising India Inc, Sitharaman said that they are the job creators and are the nation's wealth creators and with shared belief and faith on them the government highlighted all the steps taken towards connectivity. Proposing a number of initiatves as a part of the farmework for domestic and foreign investment, , she said that Connectivity is the blood of investment. She appalauded the governement for its massive push to physical connectivity through Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, industrial corridors, dedicated freight corridors, Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects, Jan Marg Vikas project and UDAAN scheme. She added that while industrial corridors improve infrastructural development for industrial investment, the dedicated freight corridors mitigates the congestion of railway network benefitting common man.
Highlight of the connectivity initiative:
- National Common Mobility Card: India's first indegionously developed payment ecosystem for transport based on national common mobility card was launched by PM on March 2019. This will enable citizen to pay all transport charges including metro. This inter-operational transport card runs on Rupay Card and will allow to pay for bustravel, toll taxes, parking charges, retail shopping and even transact money.
- FAME scheme: Phase two of the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India), following approval of the cabinet that will ensure has an outlay of ten thousand crore for three years has commenced from 1st April 2019. The main objective is to encourage adoption of electric vehicle by providing incentives on purchase of electric vehicle. This is to emphasize affordable and environment friendly public transport.
Elaborating on Waterways, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated the following:
Sagarmala Project helps in port connectivity, modernisation, port link industralisation. It will not only be a way to improve infrastructure through external link but will also be poor man's transport.
- The Jalmarg Vikas project will ensure navigation on national waterways and is aimed at smoothening internal trade carried through inland water transport. These initiatives will improve logistics tremonduosly. It will decrease the cost of transport and increase the competetiveness of the dometiscally produced goods.
- Navigational capacity of the River Ganga: There is a need to develop inland waterways to shift significant portion of inland cargo movement from road and rail. As part of Jalmarg Vikas Project, for enhancing the navigational capacity of Ganga - a multi modal terminal at Varanasi has become functional at Nov 2018 and two more such terminal at Sahebganj and Haldia. The navigational lock at Farakkha would be completed by 2020. The movement of Cargo is estimated to incraese by 4 times in the next 4 years. This will make movement of goods and passenger cheaper and reduce import bill.
Elaborating on Airways, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated the following:
- The UDAAN scheme is providing air connectivty to smaller cities and enabling the common citizen to avail air travel. This programme is also helping to bridge rural and urban divide.
- Aviation financing: As the World's third largest domestic aviation market, the time is right for India to enter into aircraft financing and leasing activities. This is critical to the development of aviation industry creating aspirational jobs in aviation finance.
Elaborating on Railways, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated the following:
- Metro Rail expansion: The new metro rail project for the total route length of 300 kilometre have been approved during 2018-19. In 2019, 210 kilometres of metro line has been operationalised. With this 657 kilometres of metro rail network has become operational in the country.
- Public Private Partnership: Railway infrastructure will need investment of 50 lakh crore between 2018-2030. Given that the capital expenditure outlays of railway is around 1.5 to 1.8 lakh crore per annum, compkleteing even sanctions will take decades. Therefore, govt proposed public private partnership.
- Suburban railways: Railways will be encouraged to invest more in suburban railways through special purpose vehicle structures like rapid regional transport systems proposed from the Delhi Meerut route. I propose to enhance the metro railway initiative by encouraging more PPP initiatves and ensuring completeion of sanctioned work while supporting transit oriented development to ensure commercial activity around transit hubs.
Elaborating on Roadways, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated the following:
- Restructing of National highway programme: Comprehensive restructing of National highway programme to ensure that the national highway grid of desirable length and capacity using financiable model. The Bharatmala project would help in developing national growth corridor and highway connectivity.
- Bharatmala Project: After completing Phase 1 of Bharatmala, in the Phase 2 states will be required to develop state road network.
READ: Budget 2019 Live Updates: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman To Present The First Union Budget Of The Modi Government 2.0 In Parliament