Nirmala Sitharaman Interview with Network18 Updates: Addressing the concerns on the cess imposed, Sitharaman added that in case of cess imposed on petrol and diesel, 'we have applied it on the additional excise duty which is purely central government's money'
File photo of Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI
Nirmala Sitharaman Interview with Network18 LATEST Updates: Nirmala Sitharaman addressed concerns about the cess being imposed on agricultural infrastructure.
She stated that the cess will "not burden" the consumer or the importer. "I wanted to make sure that the money for funding infrastructure for agriculture is got a head on which I'm earning certain amount, and that can be used. In case of petrol and diesel, we have applied it on the additional excise duty which is purely central government's money," she said.
In her first interview to a news channel after unveiling the Union Budget 2021 on Monday, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Centre wanted to avoid spending on infrastructure by raising taxes.
The Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the Centre has "delivered on healthcare, infrastructure.
The Union Budget 2021, which was announced by the Union finance minister on Monday, was hailed by BJP leaders as a 'forward-looking' plan for the economy
Allocating an enhanced outlay of Rs 1.18 lakh crore for the highways sector for 2021-21, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said execution of flagship highways corridors as well as projects are bound to speed up.
An allocation of Rs 91,823 crore was made to highways for 2020-21, which was revised to Rs 1.01 lakh crore.
"I am... providing an enhanced outlay of Rs 1,18,101 lakh crore for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, of which Rs 1,08,230 crore is for capital, the highest ever," said Sitharaman in her Budget speech while tabling the Union Budget 2021-22 in Parliament.
She added that some of the flagship corridors and other important projects would see considerable activity in 2021-22.
More than 13,000 kilometres of roads at a cost of Rs 3.3 lakh crore has already been awarded under the Rs 5.35-lakh crore Bharatmala Pariyojana, of which 3,800 kilometres have been constructed.
"By March 2022, we would be awarding another 8,500 kilometres and complete an additional 11,000 kilometres of national highway corridors," she said.
To further augment road infrastructure, more economic corridors are also being planned, the FM said adding that 3,500 kilometres of national highway works in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 1.03 lakh crore.
These include Madurai-Kollam corridor, Chittoor-Thatchur corridor, she said adding that construction will start next year.
The finance minister said 1,100 kilometres of national highway works will be undertaken in Kerala at an investment of Rs 65,000 crore, including a 600-kilometre section of Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor. In addition, 675 kilometres of highway works in West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore, including up-gradation of existing road-Kolkata Siliguri, will also be undertaken.
Besides, national highway works of around Rs 19,000 crore are currently in progress in Assam, she said. Further works of over Rs 34,000 crore covering more than 1,300 kilometres of national highways will be undertaken in the state in the coming three years, Sitharaman added.
The flagship projects that are to be expedited include Delhi-Mumbai Expressway; while for Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway, 278 kilometres will be initiated in the current financial year and construction will begin in 2021-22.
The Delhi-Dehradun Economic Corridor work will be initiated in the current financial year, while the Kanpur-Lucknow Expressway work will be initiated in 2021-22.
Likewise, a 277-kilometre Chennai-Salem corridor will be awarded soon and construction would start in 2021-22. In addition, Raipur-Visakhapatnam 464-kilometre project passing through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh will be awarded in the current year and construction will start in 2021-22.
Amritsar-Jamnagar construction will commence in 2021-22, while Delhi-Katra construction will commence in 2021-22.
Terming the Budget a pragmatic one, Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Minister Nitin Gadkari said the provisions for augmenting infrastructure will go a long way in laying a sound infra for the country.