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Govt hikes budget for testing and R&D auto project

The allocation for National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project has been enhanced from Rs 1,718 crore earlier due to the cost escalation of the project.

Mail Today Bureau | April 29, 2011 | Updated 12:38 IST

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved the proposals to increase budgetary allocation for the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) to Rs 2,288.06 crore and double the outlay for the National Institute of Food Technology coming up at Kundli on the outskirts of Delhi.

The allocation for NATRIP has been enhanced from Rs 1,718 crore earlier due to the cost escalation of the project.

NATRIP is a joint project of the Union government along with a number of state governments and the automotive industry to create a state-of-the-art testing, validation and research and development (R&D) infrastructure in the country.

As a part of the project, test centres are being set up at Manesar, Chennai, Indore, Pune, Ahmednagar and Silchar.

The Rs 570.96-crore increase in allocation for the project includes Rs 427.29 crore by way of grant and Rs 142.77 crore as loan, according to an official statement.

The revised cost includes additional loan component of Rs 95.51 crore, to be provided to offset the lower recovery of user charges, the statement said.

CCEA has also revised the completion date of the project to December 31, 2012, from September 30, 2011, approved earlier.

Besides increasing the allocation, CCEA approved the additional loan to be interest-free with moratorium of seven years. The loan amount will be repaid in eight annual installments thereafter.

CCEA has also approved the increase in outlay from Rs 244.6 crore to Rs 479.91 crore for setting up the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) in Haryana. The NIFTEM will be a global centre of excellence integrating all facets of food science, technology, entrepreneurship, research and management.

The project has a foreign exchange component of $8.1 million.

NIFTEM would work actively to assist in setting food standards, incubation of businesses and information sharing mechanisms.

It would also be an apex institution in the field of food technology and management and will network and coordinate with other institutions in the same field, CCEA said. NIFTEM will cater to the needs of various stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, industry, exporters, policy makers, the government and existing institutions.

CCEA also took a decision to raise the benchmark prices of imported diammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MoP) fertiliser for this fiscal to ensure uninterrupted availability in the country during the upcoming kharif sowing season.

Fertiliser firms have been allowed to raise retail prices of DAP by up to Rs 600 per tonne from the existing rate of Rs 10,750 per tonne.

The government reimburses subsidy on these two nutrients to fertiliser companies based on the benchmark price.

India imports six million tonnes of DAP and four million tonnes of MoP every year.

Courtesy: Mail Today

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