The highways sector received the highest support in this Budget. While the budgetary support for 2014-15 was Rs 28,881 crore, it has jumped by 50 per cent in 2015-16 to Rs 42,912 crore. However, the fine print tells a better story of a 109 per cent jump in allocation for capital expenses.
In the previous decade, only the last year of the United Progressive Alliance-II government 2013-14 had seen a jump of over 50 per cent. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley´s Budget speech announced an increase in road cess on petrol and high-speed diesel, with the hike going from Rs 2 a litre to Rs 6 a litre. A mop up of Rs 26,124 crore is expected in 2015-16 from the increase. That implies a 57 per cent increase from the revised estimate of Rs 16,628 crore in 2014-15. The Budget also sounded out a proposal of issuing tax-free bonds to fund roads, railways and irrigation projects.