The U.S government unveiled their $1.5 trillion proposal infrastructure plan on 12th February 2018, perhaps the most ambitious infrastructure plan ever presented in the US history, the plan seeks to encourage state and local governments raise money for public works, as well as attract private investors, within a 10-year timeline. The proposal addresses needs like drinking and wastewater systems, waterways, water resources, energy, rural infrastructure, public lands, veterans’ hospitals, et al. A substantial amount, to the tune of $50 billion in the form of block grants, is allocated for rural projects. The plan also dedicates sections to the Department of Veterans Affairs federal real property as well as workforce development reforms, designed to support work-based learning, career and technical education.
$100 billion is proposed to be made available for the Incentives Program and grants shall be made available for transportation, water, flood control and clean up at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects. About $50 billion towards rural projects will be utilised for transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports, while a $20 billion fund will be initiated towards transformative projects of “national significance” that can “lift the American spirit.” Another $20 billion is allocated to federal loan programs that underwrite private financing of profitable infrastructure projects. Also, there is a $10 billion capital financing program that shall fund the construction of federal office buildings and similar infrastructure for actual government use.
This proposal depicts the fact that economies across the world are recognizing the need to align their vision of a better future with infrastructure development. India showed similar sentiment, when the Union Budget 2018 was unveiled. The emphasis was primarily on strengthening agriculture and rural economy, the upliftment of which shall translate into the nation’s growth in the long term. The government implied that technology shall be the key driver in improving the quality of education and proposed a total investment of approximately USD 15 billion in the next four years, aimed at stepping up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions. Infrastructure further received an impetus with substantial funds allocated for the augmentation of road and rail network. The budget also announced construction of more than 10 million houses exclusively in rural areas as well as proposed to establish a dedicated Affordable Housing Fund. In a landmark stand, the government also announced the Flagship National Healthcare protection scheme, touted to be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme.
Be it the infrastructure plan proposed by the US government or the Union Budget 2018 as announced by India, what is evident is that the economy of any nation depends on the development and improvement of infrastructure in order to thrive.