The announcement by the Finance Minister with major implications for the geospatial community is a sum of Rs 7060 crores (US$1.2 billion) towards the development of one hundred smart cities. By making an exclusive allocation of this amount of money in the budget for the smart city project, the government appears to be making this a high profile national initiative.
In addition the budget contains specific allocations for infrastructure projects with implications for the geospatial and AEC communities.
- Master planning for 3 new smart cities in the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor region
- Development of industrial corridors with emphasis on smart cities linked to transport connectivity to spur growth in manufacturing and urbanization will be accelerated, for example the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)
- Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial master planning
- An investment Rs 37,880 crores (US$6.3 billion) for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and State Roads
- Target of 8500 km of national highways construction in the current financial year
- Rs 100 crores (US$17 million) toward linking India's rivers
- Scheme for development of new airports in Tier I and Tier II cities
The railway budget also includes important opportunities for the geospatial community. The Railway Minister specifically mentioned GIS in noting that "Indian Railways holds vast land assets, which need to be digitised and mapped using GIS for better management and usage."
In addition the first dedicated bullet train project was announced on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. The government has also announced its intention to make India the largest freight carrier of the world.
According to one assessment, "the new Budget sounds a forward-looking and affirmative note in terms of giving due emphasis to the geospatial industry. Now it needs to be seen how the geospatial industry and solution providers can tap the various opportunities unleashed by the government and gain a strong foothold in nation-building, decision-making and governance."