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Building on strengths

delhi Updated: Feb 27, 2010 02:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Better highways, railways, airports and ports is what you can expect in future as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has made a lavish allocation of Rs 1.73 lakh crore for the infrastructure sector in Budget 2010-11.

The sector will claim as much as 46 per cent of Rs 3.73 lakh crore of the total plan outlay.

“I propose to maintain the thrust for upgrading infrastructure in both rural and urban areas,” Mukherjee said in his Budget speech.

“To make a visible impact in the road sector, the government has targeted construction of national highways at a pace 20 kilometers per day. To push the pace of implementation, changes have been made in the policy framework, especially in respect of projects being executed through public private partnership (PPP),” said the finance minister.

“For the year 2010-11, I propose to raise the allocation of road transport by over 13 per cent to Rs 19,894 crore,” he added.

He also proposed to raise the allocation for railways by Rs 950 crore in 2010-11 compared with Rs 16,752 crore last year to help it expand its network.

Mukherjee said in order to complement the dedicated freight corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project has been taken up for integrated regional development.

About India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL), set up by the government to provide long-term financial assistance to infrastructure projects, Mukherjee said its disbursements are expected to touch Rs 9,000 crore by March 2010 and reach around Rs 20,000 crore by March 2011.

Sector experts have welcomed the enhanced allocation to the infrastructure sector.

“The finance minister mentioned that, overall, infrastructure now accounts for 46% of outlays. This probably defines the limits of possibility within the budgetary system,” Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman, Feedback Venture, told Hindustan Times.

Atul Punj, chairman, infrastructure giant Punj Lloyd said the government has accorded due importance to the infrastructure sector.

“We appreciate the allocation of 46% of total plan outlay to the infrastructure industry,” said Punj.