Taking forward the public investment agenda of the Centre, both union railway ministry and road transport ministry had utilised 82% of their allocated capital expenditure (revised estimate) for 2021-22 till February. The actual utilisation of funds as percentage of revised estimate, however, is still lower than the pre-pandemic level.

In total, the two ministries have incurred capital expenditure of ₹1,94,768 crore till February, against total allocation of ₹2,38,350 crore for FY22, thereby utilising 82% of the allocation, according to government data. Budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Transport in FY22 has been revised upwards to ₹1,21,250 crore, while the railway ministry allocation has been increased to ₹1,17,100 crore.

While the highway ministry has maintained the expenditure tempo gained since the pandemic, the railway ministry has really scripted a dramatic comeback with almost three-fold increase in utilisation in April-February, 2021-22 compared with the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

The actual capital expenditure by the railway ministry stands at ₹95,703 crore in up to February FY22, up 177% from ₹34,501 crore up to February FY21. The highway ministry, meanwhile, has spent ₹99,065 crore till the month of February in FY22, compared with ₹75,590 crore in the previous financial year.

At more than a third of the ₹6 lakh crore investment plan in the revised estimate, allocation to both these ministries forms the lion’s share of the public investment plan on which the central government’s entire post pandemic revival rests. While a good 18% of the FY22 fund still needs to be utilised, officials close to the development are of the view that both the ministries may surpass the target when the March data comes in.

Although the absolute numbers are higher than the pre-pandemic levels, the achievement in terms of percentage of the revised estimate is still lower than the 2019-20 levels. During April-Feb, 2019-20, the highway ministry had utilised 89% of the amount allocated in the revised estimate for the year, while railways had utilised 96% of the amount entitled in the revised estimate.

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