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Transport infra projects get allocation of over Rs 241,000 crore

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Transport infra projects get allocation of over Rs 241,000 crore
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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday proposed to allocate Rs 241,387 crore to the transportation sector in the Union Budget 2017-18.

"For transportation sector as a whole, including rail, roads, shipping, I have provided Rs 241,387 crore in 2017-18," Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget 2017-18 to the Lok Sabha.

According to the minister, the high magnitude of investment in transport infra sector will spur a "huge amount" of economic activity across the country and create more job opportunities.

"Railways, roads and rivers are the lifeline of our country. I feel privileged to present the first combined budget of independent India that includes the Railways also," Jaitley said in his Budget presentation speech.

"We are now in a position to synergise the investments in railways, roads, waterways and civil aviation."

On a sector-specific basis, the total capital and development expenditure of Railways for 2017-18 has been pegged at Rs 131,000 crore. This includes Rs 55,000 crore provided by the central government.

"For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore over a period of five years," the minister said.

"Besides seed capital from the government, the Railways will arrange the balance resources from their own revenues and other sources. Government will lay down clear-cut guidelines and timeline for implementing various safety works to be funded from this Kosh."

The minister told the house that a new 'Metro Rail Policy' will be announced soon with focus on innovative models of implementation and financing.

"A new Metro Rail Act will be enacted by rationalising the existing laws. This will facilitate greater private participation and investment in construction and operation," Jailey elaborated.

The Budget 2017-18 proposes to allocate Rs 64,900 crore for highway sector from Rs 57,976 crore in 2016-17.

"2,000 km of coastal connectivity roads have been identified for construction and development. This will facilitate better connectivity with ports and remote villages," Jaitley pointed out.

The minister disclosed that total length of roads, including those under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), built from 2014-15 till the current fiscal year, is about 1,40,000 km, which is significantly higher than in previous three years.

For the civil aviation segment, select airports in Tier II cities will be taken up for operation and maintenance in the PPP (public private partnership) mode.

"Airport Authority of India Act will be amended to enable effective monetisation of land assets. The resources, so raised, will be utilised for airport upgradation," Jaitley explained.

The minister added that a specific programme for development of multi-modal logistics parks, together with multi-modal transport facilities, will be drawn up and implemented.

"An effective multi modal logistics and transport sector will make our economy more competitive," Jaitley added.

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