Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said 100 new airports will be opened across the country by 2024 to support the government’s UDAN scheme – a scheme to improve regional air connectivity.
Presenting the Union Budget today, she also said more Tejas-like trains – a privately-operated premium train that runs between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and Delhi and Lucknow – would be introduced. Ms Sitharaman said Rs 1.7 lakh crore had been provided for transport infrastructure for 2020/21.
“India’s domestic aviation sector has been growing and UDAN scheme has contributed to the growth. 100 more airports will be developed by 2024 to support the UDAN scheme,” Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the budget, according to news agency ANI.
The development/expansion of the UDAN scheme will also tie in with the government’s 16-point plan to revive the struggling agriculture sector; Ms Sitharaman had earlier announced that a Krishi Udan service would help farmers access markets quickly and cheaply.
Among other highlights of the Finance Minister’s speech on transport was an emphasis on improvements to existing infrastructure and plans to utilise existing transport infrastructure to benefit not just this sector but the economy as a whole.
She pointed to plans to set up large-capacity solar power cells alongside rail tracks as an example.
She also said 1,150 trains will run under a public private partnership (PPP) mode and that four railway stations would be redeveloped with the help of the private sector.
Moving onto roadways, the Finance Minister said the government planned to monetise 12 bundles of national highways (about 6,000 km) by 2023/24. She also said that work on the Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway would start soon and that the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will be completed by 2023.
The “accelerated development” of highways will also include development of 2,500 km of access-controlled highways, 9,000 km of economic corridor, 2,000 km of coastal roads and 2,000 km of strategic highways, she added.
On January 1 the government launched a National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) worth Rs 102 lakh crore to be implemented over the next five years.
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