The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI’s) debt has gone up 14 times since 2014-15 to stand at Rs 3,47,685 crore, as of March 22, 2022, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
Replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that NHAI creates valuable road assets which are financially viable. “Tolling of the completed public funded road assets and monetizing the assets through ToT/InvIT modes are major steps taken by the Government to generate revenue for repayment of the loans and further construction by NHAI,” the minister said.
NHAI’s interest paid on the outstanding loan for the year 202-21 stands at Rs 25,496.67 crore, according to data shared by the ministry. Moreover, the interest paid on the outstanding loan has also risen exponentially from Rs 4,482 crore in 2015-16, to Rs 8,888 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 19,354.70 crore in 2019-20
NHAI’s cumulative debt kept on piling to stand at Rs 44,567 crore at the end of 2015-16 and rose to Rs 77,742 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1,21,931 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1,78,867 crore in 2018-19. As on February 2020, NHAI had a total debt of Rs 2,28,252 crore, which rose further to Rs 3.17 lakh crore at the end of 2020-21.
To repay debt and develop new highways, NHAI has been monetising government-funded highway projects since 2018. It has set up targets to monetise 21,700 km operational highway stretches in three years starting 2022-23 could help it raise around Rs 2 lakh crore.
Monetisation of the existing assets will be carried out through three routes: toll operate transfer, toll securitisation and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).
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