NEW DELHI: The road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has met finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking more funds in the budget which is scheduled to be presented on July 5.
The ministry has sought budgetary support of Rs 1.20 lakh crore in the upcoming budget, sources said. The demand for Rs 1.20 lakh crore is Rs 37,000 crore more than the allocated funds in the interim budget that was presented in February. The ministry was originally allocated RS 83,000 crore.
Ministry officials say that the demand for more funds is justified as the ministry wants to ensure that all pending expenditure for development and construction of National Highways is met and that the infrastructure is developed without the private sector being involved.
“A large chunk of the funds would be used for land acquisition,” the official said. According to latest figures, a total of 50900 kilometres of roads are pending under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
Piyush Goyal, the then finance minister, had said, “Under the PMGSY, construction of rural roads has been tripled. Around 15.80 lakh habitations out of a total of 17.84 lakh habitations have already been connected with pucca roads and work is going on to complete the rest very soon.”
Adding that PMGSY is being allocated Rs 19,000 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 15,500 crore in 2018-19, he said, “There was time when a child used to reach school after walking on a foot trail, today the situation has changed and a bus can reach her/his village.”
Goyal had said that India needs the next generation of infrastructure to become a $10-trillion economy. “The first dimension of this vision will be to build physical as well as social infrastructure to provide ease of living. It will comprise the next-generation infrastructure of roads, railways, seaports, airports, urban transport, gas and electric transmission and inland waterways,” he said.