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Centre mulls 30% hike in highway budgets

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The central government is firming up strategies to increase highway budgets by 30 percent to construct 50 km of highways per day in 2022, according to reports.

Centre mulls 30% hike in highway budgets
The Centre is considering a massive infrastructure stimulus to augment the construction of highways in the country. According to reports, strategies are being laid out to increase highway budgets by 30 percent to construct 50 km of highways per day in 2022.
After the increase in budget allocations, the budget of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways will touch more than $1.5 trillion, its highest value ever. A sizable chunk of the funds will be used to enhance transportation infrastructure, which is essential for economic growth.
Several key projects have either begun or have been announced, with an emphasis on developing road and highway infrastructure to drive economic growth. One such ambitious project is the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. It will cut down travel time and distance between the country's two major cities.
MoRTH received Rs 1.18 trillion in funding in 2021-22.
According to experts, while this amount would be good to fast-track highway development, more allocations should be considered since the sector is already working to expand the network of big expressways such as the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.
An infrastructure sector expert working in a major global audit firm said that the increased government funding for the sector would only work if the funds were used for capital expenditure rather than overheads such as bureaucrat salaries.
The pace of work has accelerated under the Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India, Nitin Gadkari. The length of the country's national highways has grown from 91,287 km in April 2014 to 141,000 km at present. Similarly, construction speed has grown significantly, from 14 km per day in 2014-15 to 37 km per day now.
While the Covid-19 pandemic devastated many sectors at different times over the last two years, the road sector, despite witnessing challenges, made significant progress in terms of national highway construction.
Besides highways, the government will lay strong emphasis on logistics to reduce the country's high logistics expenditure, which accounts for over 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
In this regard, the NHAI is setting up multi-modal logistics parks in strategic locations across the country.
Constructing high-quality roads and ensuring seamless connectivity are key priorities for the infrastructure segment in India, which aims to become a $5-trillion economy in the coming years.
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