Centre lines up infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh cr

New Delhi (IANS) In a major push to the slowing economy, the Centre on Tuesday lined up infrastructure projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore across 18 states and union territories (UTs) in various sectors such as railways, urban development, health, water and education.

Unveiling the first report of the Task Force tasked to identify the projects, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Centre and the states would share 39 per cent each of the total cost with the private sector investing the balance 22 per cent.

The Minister said that infrastructure has been a focus of the government in the last six years with projects worth Rs 51 lakh crore (5 per cent-6 per cent of GDP) taken up.

“We are now committing 102 lakh crore rupees for the next 5 years,” Sitharaman said, adding another Rs 3 lakh crore worth of projects would be added shortly.

It may be noted that out of the total expected capital expenditure of Rs 102 lakh crore, projects worth Rs 42.7 lakh crore (42 per cent) are already under implementation while projects worth Rs 32.7 lakh crore (32 per cent) are in the conceptualisation stage.

The remaining projects are under the development stage.

The ambitious plan has been launched even as the private sector’s response, so far, has been tepid and the once popular PPP model failing to take off.

Most projects in the highways sector have been taken up with the government providing bulk of the funds. But the Centre remains optimistic.

Sitharaman said that the private sector share in the overall infrastructure is expected to reach 30 per cent by 2025.

Among many measures to boost the economy, the government considers building infrastructure as key and has laid emphasis on it. It has stepped up its spending on infrastructure so that it does not become a constraint on the growth of the economy.

The government had earlier constituted a task force to draw up the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for each of the years from fiscal 2019-20 to 2024-25. The high-level panel is chaired by the DEpartment of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary and includes the NITI Aayog CEO, Expenditure Secretary, DEA Additional Secretary (Investments) and Secretaries of the administrative ministries.

The Task Force, in its detailed report, has given recommendations on changes required to several key sectoral policies and other reform initiatives to be initiated by Central and state governments.

The Finance Minister said that this is the first of its kind exercise and would be followed by setting up of a robust monitoring mechanism. She said that NIP will enable a forward outlook on infrastructure projects which will create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all.

It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate. On the basis of the information compiled as on date, total project capital expenditure in infrastructure sectors in India between the fiscals 2020 to 2025 is projected at over Rs 102 lakh crore.

“During the fiscals 2020 to 2025, sectors such as Energy (24 per cent), Roads (19 per cent), urban (16 per cent), and railways (13 per cent) amount to around 70 per cent of the projected capital expenditure in infrastructure in India,” an official statement said.

Addressing the media, Finance Minister said that an Annual Global Investors’ Meet would be organized with the first edition in the second half of 2020. This will provide a platform to the Centre and the states to meet investors and talk on investment opportunities.

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