Cabinet Commits Rs 9,000 Cr More to Irrigation, Approves New Metro Policy

The Union Cabinet on 16 August 2017 allocated an additional Rs 9,000 crore for irrigation and approved a new Metro rail policy in a big push to infrastructure. The government, through NABARD, will raise Rs 9,020 crore from capital markets for the completion of 99 irrigation projects under the Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojna.

The government said that the projects will provide employment opportunities, and upon completion, will irrigate 76 lakh hectares of land. PM Narendra Modi, in his Independence day speech on 15 August 2017, said that these 99 projects would be completed by 2019. The project is intended to irrigate the “most backward” and “drought prone” districts in the two states and provide a fillip to agricultural productivity in an effort to lure people away from left wing extremism, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting.

The other big infrastructure decision in on 17 August 2017 meeting was the approval of a new Metro rail policy. The policy is aimed at finding solutions for financing concerns for cities that want metros to address traffic congestion. The new policy makes public private partnership compulsory for availing of central funds and makes private investment and “other innovate forms of financing” compulsory to meet the capital expenditure requirements of metro projects.

on 17 August 2017, most Indian cities want a metro, because having such a project is a sign that a city has ‘arrived’. Cities with a population greater than 20 lakhs are eligible. Urban Development officials at the briefing said that the new policy, apart from discussing different financing models, has also given guidelines on how to monetize metro projects.

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