With India emerging as the largest PPP market in the world with more than 900 projects in various stages of development, it was inevitable that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would emphasise on infrastructure projects in the transport sector, namely roads and highways, ports and airports, in his maiden budget delivered on July 10. He has proposed to create an institution called 3P India with an initial corpus of Rs. 500 crore to bring public-private partnerships into the mainstream.
Roads and Highways
In this critical sector, the finance minister has made a provision of Rs. 37,880 crore for development of national highways under NHAI as well as state roads. This includes Rs. 3,000 crore for the road network in the northeast region. The national highway construction target for the current year is 8,500 km.
The government has also initiated work on select expressways parallel with the development of industrial corridors. As Jaitley said, “A modern nation needs multiple sources of transport. A country of the size of India must have a transport network which can ensure faster travel across cities which are geographically distant. This will also improve the supply chain in transporting goods across cities. We will initiate work on select expressways parallel to the development of the industrial corridors. For project preparation NHAI will set aside a sum of Rs. 500 crore.”
A sum of Rs. 14,389 crore has been provided for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna which was launched by the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Ports and Shipping
The finance minister announced 16 new port projects that will focus on port connectivity. These projects will be awarded this year.
An amount of Rs. 11,635 crore has been earmarked for the development of Outer Harbour Project in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, for phase-I. Special economic zones will be developed in Kandla, Gujarat, and JNPT, Maharashtra. A comprehensive policy will be announced to promote the Indian shipbuilding industry. Besides, a policy to encourage the growth of Indian controlled tonnage will also be formulated to increase the employment of Indian seafarers.
The development of inland waterways, which is already underway, is expected to vastly improve the capacity of transportation of goods within the country. The Modi government has announced a project on river Ganga called ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ (National Waterways-I) which will be developed between Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, and Haldia, West Bengal, covering a distance of 1,620 km. This project will be completed over a period of six years at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore.
A scheme for development of new airports in Tier I & II cities will be implemented through Airports Authority of India or PPP.
The finance minister has set aside Rs. 1,000 crore for development of rail connectivity in the northeast Region over and above the amount provided for in the interim budget.