A lot was being expected from the new government’s union budget and our new finance minister Mr. Arun Jaitley has surely put in something for everyone. Promising overall growth to the country, the union budget has allocated Rs. 37,880 crores to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and State Roads, including Rs. 3000 crores for the North East. The finance minister has further set aside Rs. 500 crores for the construction of expressways in parallel to development of industrial corridors.
While there was no significant fund allocated for the automobile industry, the development of infrastructure will only help automakers and industries with better connectivity providing transport solutions. The budget also promises to make the highways safer and more efficient, while improving the overall connectivity in the country. The main idea of the new roadways is to not focus on already developed locations, but to make remote locations more accessible.
The auto industry has welcomed the new budget and is being seen as a positive sign that will improve the prospects of growth. Compared to the 1322 kms long road projects that were built in the 2013 financial year by the UPA government, the new finance minister aims to construct 8500 kms of roadways in the current fiscal. Another important allocation comes to the development of highways in the North East, which desperately needs better connectivity.
While our cars haven’t gotten any cheaper, there have been no additional taxes announced and the cut in the excise duty on vehicles continues to extend till 31st December, 2014. The cut on central excise duty on premium petrol has also made the fuel cheaper by Rs. 5, from Rs. 7.50 per litre to Rs. 2.35 per litre. At the end of it all, what it means for riders and drivers like you and me are better roads, new routes and lots and lots of places to explore. However, the execution period for the projects is a matter of concern and we do hope things happen faster this time around.