Are you happy with the increase in outlay for the roads sector?
From when I had taken charge as minister, our budget hads gone up over three times. This is an indication that the government and the finance minister are giving the highest priority to infrastructure development.
Already 6,000 projects costing Rs 100 lakh crore are in the pipeline and the government has already sanctioned Rs 22,000 crore for that. The public private investment will also be there.
It is going to change the face of India totally and it is the dream of the prime minister to make India a $5-trillion economy.
The government is also looking forward to implementing the national logistics policy and the Budget also talked about monetisation of NHAI. How will that take place? Any action plan?
Actually the monetisation is a continuous process. It is already going on and I am confident that presently we do not have any shortage of funds. We will make international records and as far as the financial resources are concerned, it is well supported from all stakeholders. I am confident that we will achieve our call.
When can we expect the national logistics policy?
One-window clearance is of utmost importance. Projects get delayed by red-tapism. Now with transparency and with one window system, it is going to be helpful for making logistic parks in India. That is going to create more employment potential and will reduce the logistic costs.
The Budget also talks about making the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway a reality by 2023. Don’t you think it is a bit too ambitious to achieve that in the next three years?
Our track record is already there. You go and see. Out of 61 contracts, we have already awarded 32 contracts. The road is moving very fast. Land acquisition is completed and I am giving you guarantee that before December 2023, you will be on the road and we will take you from Delhi to Mumbai within 12 hours.
There were a lot of expectations about auto but nothing happened. Do you see it as a disappointment?
No, auto sector is now in a good position. They are going to increase their exports and their sales have also increased. This is an industry of Rs 4,50,000 crore, creating maximum employment potential and I have always supported this sector. All good, reputed global auto brands have a presence in India and our exports are going to increase continuously. This is a great thing. So the industry is in a good position and I feel that there is a good future for this industry.
The customs duty on furniture and footwear has been increased. What else do you think was there in this Budget for the MSME sector? How do you rate this budget when it comes to MSMEs?
This is really a very important thing because in our country, all kinds of wood and raw material are available but still we have a lot of imports, particularly from China. Now the finance minister indicates that increasing customs duty on the furniture and shoes and footwear is very important.
Already, the footwear industry is of Rs 1,40,000 crore, out of which Rs 85,000-95,000 crore is domestic consumption and Rs 45,000-50,000 crore is exports. By this decision, definitely the volume will be increased and it will create more employment potential and that is very good for the country.
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