Big infra ministries hike capex in first five months

As the economy picks up thread post-Covid-19, at least two central infrastructure ministries – Railways and Highways Transport and Highways – have registered an accelerated pace of spending within the first five months of the current financial year.

These two ministries account for almost half (Rs 3.24 lakh crore) of the total capital expenditure (Rs 7.50 lakh crore) in the 2022-23 budget. Nonetheless, the importance of their first five months’ expense sample is that most of it were capital expenditure – meaning expenditure that results in new asset creation or raises the standard of the current one.

Of the Rs 85,279 crore used by the Railways in April-August this year, 79 per cent or Rs 67,244.99 crore was capital expenditure. For highway transport and highways, capital expenditure was 95 per cent of the total expenditure of Rs 1.15 lakh crore within the first five months.

In 2022-23, only five central government ministries account for 72% of the total CAPEX of Rs 7.50 lakh crore. These are highway transport and highways (Rs 1.87 lakh crore), defence (Rs 1.60 lakh crore), railways (Rs 1.37 lakh crore), telecommunications (Rs 54,150 crore), and housing and city affairs (Rs 27,341.01 crore).

This means that the government has pressured public spending to accelerate progress as the private sector is still against speculation.

Bunching expenditure is avoidable.

The pace of expenditure from the Railways is much higher than the average expenditure of the government in the first five months of this year. The government has utilized over a third of the total budget expenditure of Rs 39.44 lakh crore – Rs 13.90 lakh crore in April-August.

The Union Ministry of Highways, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) under Nitin Gadkari took the Ministry of Railways seriously in spending. It has utilized 58 per cent (or Rs 1.15 lakh crore in April-August) of its annual allocation of Rs 1.99 lakh crore for 2022-23. Though more, MoRTH spent a better 66 per cent of its yearly funds during the same period in 2021-22.

Apart from railways and highways transport, the expenditure by the Rajnath Singh-led defence ministry as part of the total allocation in the first five months is higher than the corresponding period last year. According to the CAG’s information, the Department of Telecommunications and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs have been lagging in their efficiency in the previous 12 months.

The Ministry of Chemical Compounds and Fertilizers, headed by Mansukh Mandaviya, has also utilized more than half its budget in the first five months. It has spent 57 per cent (or Rs 61,229.47 crore within the first five months) of its total outlay of Rs 1,07,715.38 crore for 2022-23.

CGA information shows that even after five months, at least ten ministries or departments could not spend even one-tenth of the total funds allocated to them for 12 months. The G Kishan Reddy-led Union Tourism Ministry led the pack using only 2 per cent (or Rs 41.79 crore) of the annual allocation of Rs 2,400 crore made in 2022-23.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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