India is fastest highway developer in the world: Goyal

Three level interchange on highway

India has attained the fastest growth in highways, with 27 km of highways built every day, and it is all set for a quantum leap in transport infrastructure be it railways, waterways, airways or digiways, Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.

Presenting the interim Budget for 2019-20 in the Lok Sabha, the minister said India aspires to be a $10 trillion economy in the next eight years, and on the anvil is the next-generation infrastructure of roads, railways, seaports, airports, urban transport, gas and electric transmission and inland waterways.

Infrastructure is the backbone of any nation's development and quality of life. Whether it is highways or railways or airways or even digiways, "We have gone beyond incremental growth to attain transformative achievements," Goyal said.

For Road Transport Ministry, he allocated Rs 83,015 crore for 2019-20 against Rs 78,625 crore in 2018-19. The total capital expenditure for the ministry will be Rs 1.11 lakh crore for the next fiscal against the Rs 93,322 crore for this fiscal. The ministry has to raise Rs 75,000 crore from extra-budgetary resources for the coming fiscal, says the document tabled in Parliament.

Terming the budget as historical and revolutionary, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said 40 to 50 crore people will directly benefit from the Budget.

The allocation for highways sector has been increased to about Rs 83,000 crore and the Budget takes care of the growing infrastructure needs, he said.

Mentioning the ambitious Sagarmala initiative of the government, he said, India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy, particularly through the exploitation of the Blue Economy, to ensure better standards and quality of life for a large number of people living in the coastal areas.

"Our efforts in the Sagarmala programme will be scaled up and we will develop other inland waterways faster," the minister said, adding that "for the first time, container freight movement has started on inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi."

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