Budget 2021

Budget 2020: ₹22,000-crore equity support for two infrastructure finance companies

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 01, 2020

Adequate infrastructure is essential for inclusive growth, the Economic Survey said, adding that road transport plays a key role in development

To support the funding of infrastructure over the next five years, that would require Rs 103 lakh crore, government has provided about Rs 22,000 crore as equity support to two government-owned infrastructure agencies.

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced, “This would cater for equity support to infrastructure finance companies such as India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd and a subsidiary of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. They would leverage the funds, as permissible, to create a financing pipeline of more than Rs 1 lakh crore. This would create a major source of long-term debt for infrastructure projects and fulfil a long awaited requirement.”

About 6,000 km of highways will be “monetised” before 2024, Sitharaman said, adding a major port will be corporatised and listed.

Attaching refrigerated coaches to express passenger trains so that they can carry milk, meat and fish, is one of the steps that Indian Railways will take to contribute to the farm economy. This was announced by the Finance Minister in the first few minutes of her Budget speech. This is important because such cargo traffic can move along with passengers, as the Indian Railways provides higher priority to passenger trains on its tracks. At present, some parcel traffic moves by train.

The Finance Minister reiterated the Railways’ push towards privatisation, stating that four stations will be modernised through the public-private partnership mode. Four railway stations will be privatised and 150 trains will be run in the public-private partnership basis.

Furthering the focus on solar power, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated that Railways will use land along the tracks for solar power generation.

On highways, Sitharaman said there will be “accelerated development”. “The FASTag mechanism encourages us towards greater commercialisation of our highways so that NHAI can raise more resources. I propose to monetise at least 12 lots of highway bundles of over 6,000 km before 2024,” she said.

Published on February 01, 2020

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