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Main Idea Based Questions - 5 | English for CLAT PDF Download

Directions: Read the passage carefully and answer the question that follow.
The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has approached the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA), seeking approval for revised cost estimate for the Bharatmala Project. The cost of the flagship project has ballooned to Rs 10.6 trillion from Rs 5.35 trillion, when it was approved in October, 2017
The cost escalation has been due to higher cost of land acquisition and inflated cost of inputs. The delay in approvals is leading to awarding of new projects falling much behind the targets this year.
The land cost (compensation paid to owners) accounts for close to 35% of the total cost of construction of highways. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2015 has increased the cost of acquisition substantially.
As the CCEA approval is awaited for revised costs, the Department of Expenditure in an order on Thursday that no new works are approved and no contracts are awarded under Bharatmala under any phase until approval is received.
Expenditure has been capped at 20% above the cost estimates first approved by the cabinet. Apart from awarding, fresh liabilities cannot be created for land acquisition and pre-construction activities under the project as per the order.
The order of the expenditure department has the agencies involved in highway construction looking for clarity on what to do with the tenders for fresh awards that are already in the different stages of bidding, an official said.
Already the total length of highways awarded during the April-October period has gone down to 2595 km from a little over 5000 km in the same period last year. For the full year the target for awarding new highway projects has been kept at 12,500 km.
Earlier, MoRTH had flagged its concern over the slowing speed of award in a communication to the cabinet. It had said if the target for Award has to be met for this year, decision on the proposal for approval of the revised Bharatmala Phase-l or alternate programme needs to be taken expeditiously. It had also warned that shortfall in award this year will reflect in the progress of construction in 2024-25.
Highway constriction is one of the key priorities for the government as it pushes public spending to support growth. For this year it has provided Rs 2.58 trillion for capital expenditure to MoRTH, up 25% from last year’s revised estimates.
Bharatmala Pariyojana was first approved by CCEA in 2017. It envisaged development of 34,800 km of national highways corridors. Till date work for 26,348 km of stretches have been awarded that would cost Rs 8.24 trillion. Of the total target, 14,300 km of highways under the project have been constructed.
[From an Editorial Published in.. The Financial Express on 25 November 2023 named ‘Highway ministry seeks fresh Cabinet nod for Bharatmala’]
Q: What is the main idea of the passage regarding the Bharatmala Project?
(a) The Bharatmala Project is a new initiative announced by the government.
(b) There has been a significant cost escalation in the Bharatmala Project, leading to revised cost estimates and delays in project approvals.
(c) The Bharatmala Project is focused on building new railway lines across the country.
(d) The Bharatmala Project has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Ans:
(b)
Sol: The passage primarily discusses the cost escalation of the Bharatmala Project from Rs 5.35 trillion to Rs 10.6 trillion, due to factors like higher land acquisition costs and inflated input costs. This has led to delays in project approvals and the awarding of new projects, as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) seeks approval for revised cost estimates from the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). Additionally, the Department of Expenditure has placed restrictions on new works and contract awards under the project until approval is received. This is the central theme of the passage, making option B the correct answer. Options A, C, and D do not accurately represent the main idea of the passage.

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