The road building projects will generate 14.2 crore man-days of jobs, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said
The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday approved an ambitious road construction and expansion programme of over 83,000 km over the next five years with an investment of about Rs 7 lakh crore.
The aim is to improve infrastructure, entail faster transportation and generate employment.
Briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said the road building projects will generate 14.2 crore man-days of jobs.
The massive road building programme includes 34,800 km of BharatMala project to be constructed with an investment of Rs 5,35,000 crore.
"The historic road building programme for progress and prosperity involves building 83,677 km of roads at an investment of Rs 6.92 lakh crore," Lavasa said.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. PTI
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also addressed the media, later tweeted that the huge public investment in road construction will generate employment.
There is a need to increase public investment and Rs 7 lakh crore for road expansion will generate employment opportunities, Jaitley tweeted.
The government has consistently battled accusations from the Congress and other opposition parties that the growth under the Modi government has been "jobless".
Lavasa, who made a detailed presentation, said BharatMala includes economic corridors, border roads, coastal roads and greenfield expressways.
He said, there will be 9,000 km of economic corridors, inter-corridor and feeder routes (6,000 km), national corridors efficiency improvement (5,000 km), border roads and international connectivity (2,000 km), coastal roads and port connectivity (2,000 km), Greenfield expressways (800 km) and balance national highway development works (10,000 km).
The BharatMala project will be funded by obtaining Rs 2.09 lakh crore from the market, private investment of Rs 1.06 lakh crore and Rs 2.19 lakh crore from central road fund, toll-operate-transfer model and from toll.
The remaining 48,877 km roads under other schemes with an outlay of Rs 1.57 lakh crore will also be undertaken in parallel by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways with 0.97 lakh crore from the central road fund and 0.59 lakh crore from budgetary support.