Indian Budget 2006-07- Full Text
Full Text of P. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance, Budget Speech(Feb 28, 2006)
72. The telecommunication sector in India is recording one of the fastest growth rates in the world. Tele-density stood at 11.75 per hundred at end-January, 2006. The ambitious target is to reach 250 million connections by December, 2007, and I am confident of success. I propose to provide Rs.1,500 crore from the Universal Services Obligation Fund in 2006-07.
73. More than 50 million rural connections will be rolled out in three years and, thereafter, a connection will be available on demand. The digital divide between rural India and urban India will be bridged. In order to extend financial support to infrastructure for cellular telephony in rural areas, the Minister of Communications will bring a Bill in the Budget session to amend the Indian Telegraph Act.
74. Power generation in 2005-06 has so far shown a modest growth of 4.7 per cent because of shortage of fuel, mainly LNG and coal. The demand-supply mismatch continues. More efforts are required to augment capacity in generation, transmission and distribution. 82 projects are under construction and, when completed in one to three years, will add 33,000 MW of capacity in the public sector and 6,500 MW of capacity in the private sector. Of these, about 15,000 MW will come on stream by March 31, 2007.
75. Ministry of Power has invited bids for five ultra mega power projects of 4,000 MW each, of which two will be pit-head (in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh) and three will be coastal (in Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra). It is our intention to award these projects before December 31, 2006.
76. Capacity addition alone is not enough; we need deep and durable reforms in transmission and distribution. In order to create an enabling and empowered framework to carry out these reforms, the Prime Minister will establish an Empowered Committee of Chief Ministers and Power Ministers.
77. A target of 3,075 MW of installed capacity for the Tenth Plan was fixed for non-conventional energy sources, including wind power. By December 31, 2005, that target had been exceeded and 3,650 MW of capacity installed. I propose to provide a sum of Rs.597 crore next year for non-conventional energy resources.
Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana
78. All States have signed memoranda of understanding to implement the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. 10,000 villages will be electrified in the current year and, in 2006-07, 40,000 more villages will be electrified. The key to the success of this programme is the engagement of franchisees and proper commercial and contractual arrangements for distribution, billing and collection.
79. A comprehensive review of the coal policy is underway. This year, 45 coal blocks have been allotted for captive consumption to the power, cement and steel sectors and to the State Governments. After reserving blocks for Coal India Limited and its subsidiaries for the period up to 2012, it has been decided to de-block coal reserves of 20 billion tonnes for power projects. The definition of captive consumption will also be amended to allow coal mining by producers with firm supply contracts with steel, cement and power companies. The capacity of Central Mines Planning and Development Institute Limited (CMPDIL) to drill in order to prove reserves is now only 200,000 metres per annum, and this will be expanded substantially.
80. Energy security is high on the Government’s agenda. In five rounds of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), 110 production sharing contracts have been awarded. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has now made its biggest offer under NELP VI. 55 blocks and an area of 355,000 sq kms, which is thrice as large as the previous round, have been offered. Besides investment in the upstream and downstream segments, we are encouraging investment in refining, pipelines and green fuel projects. In the refinery sector alone, an investment of Rs.22,000 crore is expected in the next few years.
81. The National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) continues to make impressive progress. The highest ever number and value of contracts were awarded in calendar 2005. I propose to enhance the Budget support for NHDP from Rs.9,320 crore to Rs.9,945 crore in 2006-07.
82. A special accelerated road development programme for the North Eastern region at an estimated cost of Rs.4,618 crore has been approved. For 2006-07, I propose to provide a sum of Rs.550 crore for this programme.
83. Government has also decided to develop 1,000 kms of access-controlled Expressways. These will be on new alignment and built on the Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) model. The sections that have been identified are Vadodara-Mumbai, Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Agra, Bangalore-Chennai and Kolkata-Dhanbad. The concessionaires will be selected through an international competitive bidding process.
84. National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will be restructured and made more effective. It will be made into a multi-disciplinary body with the capacity to handle a large number of PPP projects. New skill areas in planning and quality assurance, standardization, arbitration, road-safety and R&D will be created.
85. Honourable Members are aware that the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) has been approved by the Government. The port sector alone will require Rs.55,804 crore. Work is in progress in 101 projects covering, inland waterways, shipping and ports which include deepening of channels in Kandla, JNPT and Paradip. I propose to increase the Plan allocation for the Department of Shipping by 37 per cent to Rs.735 crore.
86. A deep draft port is required in the eastern part of the country. I am happy to announce that it is proposed to carry out a detailed study to identify a suitable location for a new deep draft port in West Bengal. The existing National Institute of Port Management, Chennai, has been renamed as the National Maritime Academy, and it is proposed to upgrade it into a Central University under an Act of Parliament. The University will have regional campuses at Mumbai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.
87. The India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) has been incorporated, and the first proposal for funds has been received. Several proposals have been received for viability gap funding for PPP projects. In-principle approval has been granted to three road projects in Gujarat and a final decision is likely to be taken before March 31, 2007.