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New Delhi, February 1, 2020
Emphasising the importance of infrastructure development, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced a proposal to set up 100 more airports to support UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme, allocation of Rs 22,000 crore for power and renewable energy sector and expansion of the gas grid to 27,000 km.
Presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 in Parliament, the Minister said infrastructure was crucial to the theme of “economic development” and hence the Budget was dedicated to providing “Ease of Living” to all citizens.
Stressing the need for efficiency of Indian sea ports and use of technology to improve their performance, Sitharaman said “The government would consider corporatizing at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges.”
Speaking about Inland Waterways, Sitharaman announced that the “Jal Vikas Marg” on National Waterway-1 would be completed and the 890- km Dhubri-Sadiya connectivity would be completed by 2022.
Plans were afoot on “Arth Ganga”-- the Prime Minister's vision to energise economic activity along the river banks.
In order to boost the transport infrastructure in the country the Union Budget has provided for about Rs 1.70 Lakh crore, she said.
The Finance Minister also announced that 100 more airports would be developed by 2024 to support Udan scheme. She said that India’s air traffic has grown rapidly as compared to the global average and the air fleet number was expected to go up from the present 600 to 1200 during this time.
In the direction of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, among other measures, the Finance Minister announced the launch of “Krishi Udaan” by the Ministry of Civil aviation on international and national routes. This is aimed to help improve value realisation especially in the North-East and tribal districts.
She proposed an allocation of Rs. 22000 crore for the Power and Renewable Energy sector in 2020-21. The Minister urged all States and Union Territories to replace conventional meters by prepaid “Smart Meters” in the next 3 years and measures to reform discoms.
The national gas grid would be expanded from the present 16,200 km to 27,000 km with further reforms to be undertaken to facilitate transparent price discovery and ease of transactions.
The Finance Minister also proposed to extend the corporate tax rate of 15% to new domestic companies engaged in the generation of electricity.