Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday held a meeting to review the progress of 34 projects in the health and water resources sectors involving investments of Rs 3.6 lakh crore under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).
While 24 of these projects worth Rs 80,915 crore are under the supervision of the health ministry, the department of water resources, river development & Ganga rejuvenation oversees 10 large projects worth Rs 2,79,604 crore, the finance ministry said.
Secretaries of water resources and health attended the meeting, which focussed on the implementation of the projects and bottlenecks, if any. “The agenda was to discuss the progress of NIP projects, expenditure incurred so far and the initiatives taken to expedite the project implementation,” the ministry said in a statement. This was the second review meeting by Sitharaman with various ministries and departments to monitor and accelerate the NIP project implementation.
The NIP, which was launched with a total of 6,835 projects across various sectors, is now expanded to more than 7,300 projects despite the Covid-19 outbreak, the ministry said. With the economy battered by the pandemic, a government task force had in April firmed up a road map for capital investments of `111 lakh crore in infrastructure under the NIP over six years through FY25, pledging 71% of the expenditure for energy, roads, urban development and railways, and envisaging a key role for private investors.
Sitharaman has asked the two ministries/departments to push infrastructure expenditure by effectively implementing NIP projects in time.
Many ministries and departments have shown substantial progress in project implementation and expenditure, especially in the second quarter, according to the statement. “In addition, majority of ministries/departments have targeted substantially high Infra-expenditure in FY21 than the actual expenditure of FY20,” it added.
The Centre’s capex picked up at an impressive pace in the third quarter, following the lifting of the lockdown curbs. At Rs 43,803 crore, its capex in November surged by 248.5% on year, as it sought to reverse a slide in economic growth through productive spending in critical sectors, mainly infrastructure. The capex in the April-November period, however, rose by only 12.8%, thanks mainly to sluggish expenditure in the initial months of the fiscal.