Here’s what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech
Together with the capital expenditure of the Railways, the total outlay on roads and railways will be Rs 2,18,000 crore in 2016-17.
We further expect to approve nearly 10,000 kms of National Highways in 2016-17. This will be much higher than in the two previous years. The pace of completion of road projects will also rise to nearly 10,000 kms in 2016-17. In addition, nearly 50,000 kms of State highways will also be taken up for up-gradation as National Highways.
The total outlay for infrastructure in BE 2016-17 stands at Rs 2,21,246 crore.
Passenger traffic on our roads has to be made more efficient for the benefit of the common man and the middle class. This is a totally unreformed sector which suffers from several impediments.
Abolition of permit-raj will be our medium term goal. Government will enact necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act and open up the road transport sector in the passenger segment.
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An enabling eco-system will be provided for the States which will have the choice of adopting the new legal framework. Entrepreneurs will be able to operate buses on various routes, subject to certain efficiency and safety norms.
The major benefits of this game changing initiative will be provision of more efficient public transport facilities, greater public convenience, new investment in this moribund sector, creation of new jobs for our youth, growth of start-up entrepreneurs and other multiplier effects. These measures will take us faster down the road to development.
In 2015, India’s major ports have handled the highest ever quality of cargo. We have also added the highest ever capacity in major ports. We have started a series of measures for modernizing the ports and increasing their efficiency. The Sagarmala project has already been rolled out. We are planning to develop new greenfield ports both in the eastern and western coasts of the country. The work on the National Waterways is also being expedited. Rs 800 crore has been provided for these initiatives.
In the civil aviation sector, the Government is drawing up an action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports. There are about 160 airports and air strips with State Governments which can be revived at an indicative cost of Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore each. We will partner with the State Governments to develop some of these airports for regional connectivity. Similarly, 10 of the 25 non-functional air strips with the Airport Authority of India will also be developed.