Presenting the Union Budget, Finance Minister says 100 critical transport infrastructure projects, for last and first mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertiliser, and food grains sectors have been identified…report Asian Lite News
The Indian government on Wednesday said 50 additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advance landing grounds will be revived for improving regional air connectivity in the country.
The announcement was made by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget for 2023-24.
Over the past few years, the government has been taking various initiatives, especially the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, to boost the regional air connectivity.
“Fifty additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advance landing grounds will be revived for improving regional air connectivity,” Sitharaman said in her Budget speech.
Besides, she said that 100 critical transport infrastructure projects, for last and first mile connectivity for ports, coal, steel, fertiliser, and food grains sectors have been identified.
“They will be taken up on priority with investment of ₹ 75,000 crore, including ₹ 15,000 crore from private sources,” she added.
In her first address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, President Droupadi Murmu said the country’s aviation sector is growing rapidly.
“Up to 2014, the number of airports in the country was 74, it has now increased to 147. Today India has become the third-largest aviation market in the world. The UDAN Yojana has played an important role in this regard,” she had said.
The survey said, “The civil aviation sector in India has great potential owing to growing demand from the middle class, growth in population and tourism, higher disposable incomes, favourable demographics, and greater penetration of aviation infrastructure,”
It further noted, “The current financial year has further shown a rebound, with both passenger and cargo movement close to the pre-COVID-19 levels. The total number of passengers carried in December 2022 stood at 150.1 lakh, which was 106.4 per cent of the pre-Covid level.”
Yusuff Ali welcomes budget
Meanwhile, UAE-based Indian billionaire businessman MA Yusuff Ali said this budget will further strengthen Indo-Gulf business relationship and bring in more investments into the country to benefit the economic development and employment sector.
“I would term it as an “inclusive” budget that has tried to take into consideration all segments of society and different priority sectors. For me the key takeaways are the major initiatives announced in strengthening connectivity, food security and skill development sectors,” Ali said.
The Lulu founder has hailed the construction of 50 new airports and development of water-routes. He said it will have major impact on the socio-economic fabric of India and will further boost its position as a dream destination for global businesses and investors.
“Food security is another key area which will have long term benefits for the community as well as agri-sector,” he said.
“India is primarily a “young” nation, so obviously initiatives such as National Digital Library, skill development centers across the country, new nursing colleges are the need of the hour and the budget has rightly laid greater emphasis on these critical sectors,” Ali added.
Big investment push
The capital investment outlay will be raised by 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore in the financial year 2023-’24, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said as she unveiled the Union Budget.
The allocation is up from Rs 7.5 lakh crore in 2022-’23. Sitharaman said the latest allocation would amount to 3.3% of India’s gross domestic product.
The government laid emphasis on capital expenditure to push economic growth hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The finance minister said the Centre will also continue 50-year interest-free loans to state governments for one more year to aid infrastructure investment with an outlay of Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
“(This outlay) would be 3.3 per cent of GDP, almost three times the outlay made in 2019-20. With substantial increase, it is central to government’s efforts to enhance growth potential and job creation, crowd in private investments and provide cushion against global headwinds,” Sitharaman said in her Budget speech in Parliament today. Further, the government proposes to increase the agricultural credit target to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries, Sitharaman said. The agriculture sector of the country has been growing at an average annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent in the last six years.
The government will also launch a sub-scheme of existing PM Matsya scheme to improve value chain efficiencies, she said.
Sitharaman started her Budget speech at 11 am, the last full Budget of the Modi government in its second term. Like the previous two Union Budgets, Union Budget 2023-24 is also presented in paperless form.
This year’s Budget holds much significance as the country is scheduled to have the next Lok Sabha election in April-May 2024.
As per established tradition, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with ministers of state Pankaj Chaudhary and Bhagwat Karad and Finance Secretary T V Somanathan called on President Droupadi Murmu.