Work related to the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry, according to an official order.
It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry, the order approved by President Ram Nath Kovind stated.
Over the last one and a half decade, the Central Road Fund (CRF) was major revenue for the government to finance ambitious road projects. The CRF launched in 2000 is basically a cess imposed along with excise duty on petrol and diesel.
The cess revenue was accrued to the CRF which was uniquely created and out of these major road projects were financed ever since its launch.
Conversion of CRF into Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF):
The budget 2018 has amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and has renamed the Central Road Fund as Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF).
The main purpose of the amendment is to use the proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects including waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure including education institutions, medical colleges etc.
The amendment prescribes that road cess is first credited to the Consolidated Fund of India and later, after adjusting for the cost of tax collection, should go to the CRIF.
As per the amendment, the share for each infrastructure areas and projects from the CRIF shall be finalized by a Committee, constituted by the Central government. The Committee will be headed by the Finance Minister.
The four-member committee would approve recommendations made by the sub-committee headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary on the list of infrastructure projects to be financed from the CIRF, according to a government notification.
Other members of the committee include the Ministers of Road Transport and Highways, Railways and Human Resource Development, it said.
The 15-member sub-committee has Secretaries from different Ministries who will examine and evaluate proposals received from Ministries on infrastructure projects to be financed by the CRIF.
Besides, it will prioritize the list of infrastructure projects each year for financing from the fund.