India spends record RM70b to develop roads as polls loom


MUMBAI • India invested a record 1.16 trillion rupees (RM69.69 billion) in the financial year ended March, to develop highways and improve road connectivity across the nation, according to a statement from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration spent 44% more than a year ago on building roads.

The government plans to construct 83,677km of roads by 2022 to boost economic growth and employment, under its US$106 billion (RM410.44 billion) Bharatmala infrastructure development plan.

The government is rushing to enact policies that will boost employment opportunities in Asia’s third-largest economy before elections next year.

Modi swept to power in May 2014 with the biggest electoral mandate in three decades after promising to create 10 million jobs each year.

“The renewed focus on road building will continue to improve connectivity thereby enhancing the overall efficiency in the economy,” said Shubhada M Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank Ltd. “Focus on road building will also help employment generation.”

The administration awarded a total of 17,055km of orders in year ended March, around 7% more from a year ago, according to the statement.

Construction of roads rose to 9,829km from 8,231km a year ago.


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