Budget 2016: Creating growth impulses for infra

Budget 2016: Creating growth impulses for infra

Expert speak

Budget 2016: Creating growth impulses for infra

By continuing to maintain the delicate balance between the priorities for India and Bharat, the  Budget has created growth impulses for the infrastructure sector and farmers, alike.

Budget 2016-17, underscores the government’s commitment to provide further impetus by way of a clear action plan for sustainable growth of India’s infrastructure — the single largest investment opportunity in the world.

Decades of underinvestment have created deficits in critical areas such as roads, highways and railways. A combined budgetary allocation of Rs 2.8 lakh crore for roads and railways will have a positive impact on ensuring sustainable development of infrastructure.

The road sector continues to be a focus sector, with a dedicated budget allocation of Rs 97,000 crore for development of roads and highways. Some 85% projects are now back on track. An increase of more than 30%, over planned expenditure, with a target to build 10,000 km of National Highways, has created positive sentiments.

In addition, upgradation of 50,000 km of State Highways to National Highways will ensure development of roads in line with the NHDP programme.

Jaitley has also announced issuance of Rs 15,000 crore worth of tax-free bonds. The ambitious, yet achievable target of building 30 kms roads per day, will be instrumental in bridging the developmental gap since 2012-14, during which only 5,100 km of road projects were awarded.

The step up in budgetary support, coupled with a clearly laid out road map for all round development, will send positive signals to investor and lenders, who have been cautious about the infrastructure sector. 

Game Changer

Quality physical infrastructure is vital for business generation and youth employment, and provides impetus to nurture the entrepreneurial zeal of a high growth economy.

However, multiplicity of departments, creates a systemic imbalance. A unified infrastructure regulatory authority with a clear mandate to formulate and implement development strategies, is crucial to improve logistics and ensure balanced, long-term development, build consensus with all stakeholder and ensure effective Centre-State relationship.

 (The author is MD and CEO of YES Bank)

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