- The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
- The Bill seeks to amend the Central Road Fund (CRF) Act, 2000.
- The CRF Act regulates Central Road Fund (CRF) into which cess levied and collected on high speed petrol and diesel is credited for development of national and state highways.
About Central Road Fund (CRF):
- CRF was established to fund development and maintenance of National Highways, State Highways and Rural roads by the Government.
- In order to mobilise the fund, the CRF Act has proposed to levy and collect cess on petrol and high speed diesel oil.
- The fund is utilised for development and maintenance of National highways, State Highways, Rural roads and also road overbridges, under bridges and other safety features at unmanned Railway Crossings.
About the Features of the Bill:
- The Bill seeks to allocate share of this cess towards development of inland waterways.
- The Bill defines national waterways as those under National Waterways Act, 2016.
- Currently, 111 waterways are specified under this Act.
- Utilization of fund: The Bill provides that in addition to utilization of this fund for various road projects, it will also be used for the development and maintenance of national waterways.
- Power of central government: The Bill expands power of central government for administering the fund for the purpose of investment decisions for national waterways as well.
- Allocation of cess: The Bill decreases allocation of cess towards development and maintenance of national highways from 41.5% to 39%.
- It allocates 2.5% of cess towards development and maintenance of national waterways.