Government to develop ports and airports: Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The central government on Monday proposed to develop port and airport infrastructure to accelerate economic activity in the country.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed to allocate financial resources for development of infrastructure sectors like ports and airports in Union Budget 2016-17.

Jaitley presented the budget in parliament on MOnday.

“In 2015, India’s major ports have handled the highest ever quality of cargo. We have also added the highest ever capacity in major ports. We have started a series of measures for modernising the ports and increasing their efficiency,” Jaitley elaborated.

“The Sagarmala project has already been rolled out. We are planning to develop new greenfield ports both in the eastern and western coasts of the country.”

According to the minister, the work on the national waterways is being expedited.

“Rs.800 crore has been provided for these initiatives,” the minister told the Lok Sabha.

In the civil aviation sector, the minister disclosed that the government is in the process to draw up an action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports.

“There are about 160 airports and air strips with state governments which can be revived at an indicative cost of Rs.50 crore to Rs.100 crore each,” the minister stated.

“We will partner with the state governments to develop some of these airports for regional connectivity.”

Similarly, the minister said that 10 out of the 25 non-functional air strips with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) will be developed.

Apart from the aviation and shipping sectors, the Union Budget proposed to allocate capital expenditure of Rs.218,000 crore for rural roads, highways and railways.

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