The Bharatmala Project
The Indian Government had launched the Bharatmala Project to connect various parts of India which would maintain the flow of traffic of people and goods between places.
What is Bharatmala?
- It is an umbrella scheme which covers the highways sector and there are plans to construct several new roads in the country.
- It will focus on the need to optimize the efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country by rectifying past infrastructure gaps.
- The project plans the development of new Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors between roads, and Feeder Routes to major road infrastructure to increase vehicle speed on the roads.
- To improve transportation in the country, it is planned to implement new National Corridor Efficiency Improvements for Border and International connectivity roads, building more Coastal roads and improve port connectivity roads and implement Green-field expressways.
Funding the Bharatmala Project
- The Bharatmala project initially had a project cost of Rs 5.35 lakh crores but due to steep hikes in costs of land acquisition and other unavoidable delays, the cost of the project rose up significantly to Rs 8.41 lakh crore.
- The Ministry of Road Transport wanted the additional cost to be funded by the Ministry of Finance but due to limited fiscal headroom, the finance ministry was not in a position to increase the budgetary outlay.
- However, it did suggest the Road Transport Ministry seek the help of Life Insurance Corporation of India. the state-owned insurer.
- Following discussions, LIC has agreed to invest Rs 1.25 lakh crore by 2024 to fund the projects.
Current status of the Bharatmala Project
Till March 2019, a total of 225 road projects with an aggregate length of 9613 km have been approved for construction under the Bharatmala project.