NHAI was already facing a ‘debt-trap’ and it borrowed another Rs 58,000 crore during Covid

Increase in external borrowing by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to fund its highway expansion programme led to a rise of approximately 24 per cent in its debt in 2020-21.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha Monday, Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari noted that the NHAI’s debt was Rs 3.07 trillion (Rs 3.07 lakh crore) on 31 March 2021, up from Rs 2.49 trillion (Rs 2.49 lakh crore) in March 2020.

Replying to a question from BJP MP Sushil Modi, Gadkari also said the NHAI paid Rs 18,840 crore as interest in 2020-21.

The minister further informed Parliament that, since 2017, the NHAI has availed of external borrowing to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore.

“Further, total borrowing of NHAI increased from Rs 74,742 crore outstanding as on March 2017 to Rs 3,06,704 crore in March 2021,” read Gadkari’s reply.

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