On Saturday, Union minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the forthcoming budget would see priorities in agriculture and infrastructural investment, as the country targeted to achieve double-digit growth in due course.
“After demonetisation and GST, the situation is really changing. Our direct tax collection for this year has gone up by 18 percent compared to last year, and the government borrowings have come down by Rs 30,000 crore, as anticipated, keeping fiscal deficit under control,” Gadkari said.
He further added that “The growth figure for the last quarter has again gone up over 7 percent and our target is double-digit, which may take some time. But the wayin which the economy is moving, I am confident that in due course of time, we will achieve this”.
He hoped that the finance minister would give more priority to agriculture and infrastructure investments in the forthcoming budget.He emphasised the importance of infrastructure in the country, and the need for world-class water, power, transportation and communication infrastructure. “The Cabinet has already cleared projects of Rs 7.5 lakh crore under Bharatmala projects, and by end of March 2018, we will complete investment of Rs 8 lakh crore in infrastructure and many of which is from the private sector,” Gadkari stated.
He also added that “We have increased annual budget for road project from Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 1,30,000 crore, annually, this year, and are targeting Rs 1,50,000 crore next year. The road construction would further gather momentum with an average addition of 28 km per day by March this year, and 40 km per day by next year”.
Gadkari said that his ministry had sanctioned Rs 1,00,000 crore for irrigation projects in Maharashtra’s drought-prone areas. He urged the state governments to adopt new modes of transportation like waterways. “10,000 seaplanes would be brought into operation in the country over the next two years”, he added. He also advised that rules and regulations should be put in place for operating seaplanes in the country within the next three months.
Stating that the use of petrol, diesel, ethanol and methanol had to be brought down, the minister announced that the Delhi-Mumbai highway would be converted into an “electric route”, and that the task of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) had been allotted to the department concerned.