Budget hikes infra investment upto Rs50 lakh crore
Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who presented the Union Budget said that country’s GDP growth in 2012-13 is expected to be 7.6 per cent +/-0.25 per cent. He said that in 2011-12, India’s GDP is estimated to grow at 6.9 per cent after having grown at the rate of 8.4 per cent in each of the two preceding years. “Though the global crisis had affected India, it still remains among the front runners in economic growth,” he said.
Emphasizing on infrastructure and industrial development, Mukherjee said that during the 12th Plan, infrastructure investment will go up to Rs50 lakh crore with half of this expected from private sector. Stating that in 2011-12 tax free bonds for Rs30,000 crore were announced for financing infrastructure projects, he proposed to double it to raise Rs60,000 crore in 2012-13. The minister proposed to allow External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) to part finance Rupee debt of existing power projects.
The finance minister announced a target of covering 8,800 km under NHDP next year and increase in allocation of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry by 14 per cent to Rs25,360 crore in 2012-13.
Expressing concern over shortage in housing sector, the finance minister proposed various measures to address the shortage of housing for low income groups in major cities and towns including ECB for low cost housing projects and setting up of a Credit Guarantee Trust Fund.
The allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation is proposed to be increased by over 27 per cent to Rs14,000 crore and for Pradhan Mantri Road Sadak Yojana by 20 per cent to Rs24,000 crore in 2012-13. He proposed to enhance the allocation under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to Rs20,000 crore with Rs5,000 crore exclusively earmarked for creating warehousing facilities.
The finance minister has announced full exemption from basic customs duty and a concessional CVD of 1 per cent to steam coal for a period of two years till March 31, 2014. Mukherjee also proposed full exemption from basic duty to Natural Gas and Liquified Natural Gas and Uranium concentrate, Sintered Uranium Dioxide in natural and pellet form.
Full exemption from import duty on specified equipment imported for road construction by contractors of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, NHAI and state governments is being extended to contracts awarded by Metropolitan Development Authorities. Tunnel boring machines and parts for their assembly are covered by this exemption. Mukherjee proposed to allow their import free of duty without end-use condition.