Infra focus area, says finance minister

Claiming that building infrastructure is thrust area of the UPA government, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the government has cleared projects worth Rs 6,60,000 crore by the end of January 2014.

"At a time when it appeared that a number of projects would fail because of the logjam, the government took the bold step to set up the Cabinet Committee on Investment... Thanks to the swift decision...by the end of January 2014, the way was cleared for completing 296 projects with estimated project cost of Rs 6,60,000 crore," Chidambaram said in his interim budget.

In 2012-13 and in the nine months of the current financial year, we have added 29,350 megawatts of power capacity, 3,928 kms of National

Highways and 39,144 kms of rural roads under Prime Minister Rural Road Scheme, he said.

The road network, he said, witnessed a whopping over seven-fold increase at 3.89 lakh km during the UPA-I and UPA-II regime as "in the year 2004, the country's highway network was 51,511 km which has now reached 3,89,578 km."

Likewise, he asserted that the country's installed power generation capacity has more than doubled to 2,34,600 MW in the past 10 years.

"India's power generation capacity 10 years ago (2004) was 1,12,700 MW, it has now risen to 2,34,600 MW," he said.

In addition to these, 3,343 km of new railway tracks were laid and and 217.5 million tonnes of capacity per annum was added in the ports sector.

"We have also facilitated Infrastructure Debt Funds to provide take-out finance for infrastructure projects and ease the pressure on banking sector," he added."

Pitching for higher allocation for the infrastructure sectors, he said, overall, it is estimated that the infrastructure sector would needed investment of $ 1 trillion in the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17), he said. 

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