Ahead of the general elections in 2024, the Union government has set the target of spending around 80 per cent of the Rs 10 lakh crore capital expenditure (capex) allocated for the current financial year by December end.
According to the plan, the aim is to complete a large number of ongoing projects before the dates for the next Lok Sabha elections are announced.
While several ministries including the Railways and the Road and Highways have already got moving and spent up to 45-46 per cent of their full year allocation, there are others which are currently lagging and will have to pick up pace.
It is learnt that the move to step up spending during the first nine months of the financial year is being done at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the Finance Ministry wants other ministries to spend two-thirds of the allocated funds by the end of December, it is leaving them with the remaining amounts to be used up during January-March.
Ministries, which are lagging, often see a reduction in the budget, while some of the better performing ones are given more funds at the time the finance minister presents the revised estimates for the full year.
According to data available with the Finance Ministry, during April-June this year, the Centre’s capex has gone up 55 per cent to around Rs 2.7 lakh crore with more than 27 per cent of the budget for this purpose already utilised.
Targets have also been fixed for key infrastructure ministries. For instance, the road ministry has been tasked with completing 12,500 km of construction during the current financial year, in addition to awarding another 12,000 km of highway projects.
Similarly, the railways is to commission a 5,500 km network with 15 km a day to be commissioned, three-and-a-half times the level seen during United Progressive Alliance government.
The Renewable Energy Ministry has been told to add 25 gigawatts of capacity and complete the Rs 10,000 crore green energy corridor and also commission the first solar production linked incentive scheme by October.
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