Bengaluru Suburban Rail will become reality: Sitharaman

Bengaluru Suburban Rail will become reality: Sitharaman

Agency News

Bengaluru, Feb 17 : Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday assured that the Centre is committed to stand by its promise of providing Rs 18,600 crore Bengaluru suburban Rail project. Addressing a press conference after a post-budget interactive session with the representatives of the various trade bodies, industries leaders and others here, she said that the union cabinet has already given its clearance for the long pending project.

Informing that the central government will have 20 per cent of its capital share in the project followed by another 20 per cent share from the state government, she said "beside this the union government will stand for a sovereign guarantee for the rest of the 60 per cent share, which can be raised through loans from external agencies".

She said that "We are very much committed to the 148-km Bengaluru Suburban Railway project". Strongly denying that the Union Government is withholding the GST cess dues to the State Governments, she said that "because of dip in the GST collection in the last quarters of 2019 there was a delay in releasing the funds".

"Dues will be made to the concerned state governments in installments", she said. Referring to the stress button applied by the Private Telecom companies over the payment of dues to the BSNL, she said that "we are waiting to hear from the Telecommunication department on the issue to take any decision". She refused to react to the reported threat made by the Vodafone, to shut its operations, if it was pressed to make clear the dues.

"The Telecom department is engaged with the private companies on the issue"" she said. Referring to release of grants over several Centrally sponsored schemes including that of MGNREGA, she said that "The union government had released funds to clear the wage portion of the scheme". The Center had released over Rs 2.03 lakhs crores to Karnataka, ever since the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, as against the 73,000 crore released during 14th Finance Commission regime", she added.

Replying to the questions, she said that during her interaction with the E-soft and start-up company representatives, pleas were made to enlarge and enhance the sops and concessions announced in the Union budget. "We have extended an amount of over Rs 9,500 crores to promote the Start-Up companies" she said. (UNI)