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India sets Rs7tr to develop 83,000km of roads
RESMI SIVARAM October 25, 2017
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NEW DELHI: A Rs7 trillion plan to develop 83,000km of roads across the country in five years was approved by the union cabinet on Tuesday.

Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, said the plan includes the ambitious Bharatmala highway which will build 34,000km of new highways and would cost Rs5.6 trillion.

The gigantic plans will boost the country’s infrastructure even as it creates jobs for hundreds of thousands.

Jaitley also announced the government will infuse Rs2.11 trillion to strengthen public sector banks through a mix of recapitalisation bonds, budgetary support and market raising.

He made the announcements in a media interaction at the National Media Centre in New Delhi.

He contested an economic slowdown, insisting that the country is on a strong wicket. “Macroeconomic fundamentals are strong; the government has decided on the steps needed to sustain the growth momentum,” Jaitley said.

As questions were raised about the alleged slowing of the economy, Jaitley said, “We will appropriately respond to the situation as it develops.” He insisted India has been the world’s fastest growing economy for the last three years and the government is working to sustain a high growth rate. In a strong defence, he said the government recognises that India has strong economic fundamentals, and has set goals for areas where it can be boosted.

Banking secretary Rajiv Kumar said the government will infuse Rs2.11 trillion to strengthen public sector banks through a mix of recapitalisation bonds, budgetary support and market raising.

Kumar pointed out that strengthening the country’s banking system will result in more jobs, growth and investments.

Banks are ready for a take-off due to strong economic fundamentals and push to public investment in infrastructure, he added.

Calling it a “bold move,” Jaitley said part of the money will be from banks raising their own capital. The government can reduce their stake to 52 per cent.

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