In her maiden budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has provisioned for a modest hike in allocation for transport sector. Allocation this time has been enhanced to Rs 83,000 crore as against Rs 78,626 crore last year.
The Finance Minister has announced a major restructuring of National Highway Programme to ensure that the National Highway Grid of desirable length and capacity is created using financeable model. After completing the Phase-1 of Bharatmala, states will be helped to develop State road networks in the second phase. The government has also raised Central Road and Infrastructure Cess on petrol and diesel Re 1 per litre to give a boost to infrastructure development.
The Union Budget has also emphasized on ushering in the era of electric vehicles making India a global hub in the segment. Under Phase-II of the FAME Scheme, only advanced battery and registered e-vehicles will be incentivized, with greater emphasis on providing affordable and environment friendly public transportation options for the common man. The inclusion of solar storage batteries and charging infrastructure in the FAME scheme is also expected to give a boost to manufacturing, which is needed for India to leapfrog and become a global hub for manufacturing of these vehicles.
( Image by: Ridham Nargralawala)