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With slew of projects, PM makes big push for infra development

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With slew of projects, PM makes big push for infra development

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New Delhi: 

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As part of his agenda to fast-track infrastructure development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday announced a slew of new projects in a big push to critical sectors such as railways, aviation, shipping, and coal and power.

 

Noting that the  infrastructure sector needs over $ 1 trillion in the next five years, Singh said the government alone cannot invest such huge amounts and would involve the private sector through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

 

“Our government (is) committed to taking the necessary measures to reverse the present situation and revive India's growth story”, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister was speaking after meeting with Montek Singh Ahluwalia and ministers who handle infrastructure related portfolios like power, coal, aviation, shipping and road transport. "We're all aware of the need to give a major push to these crucial sectors and today’s exercise is a part of our efforts in that direction," the Prime Minister said. 

 

"In these difficult times, we must do everything possible to revive business and investor sentiment," Singh said, pointing to the difficult economic scenario arising out of the euro zone crisis and inflationary pressures at home.

 

"We must work to create an atmosphere conducive to investment and to removing  bottlenecks to growth," he said. 

 

The Prime Minister said the elevated rail project in Mumbai, expected to cost nearly Rs 20,000 crore, will be awarded by March 2013. Additionally, contracts for up to five new railways stations will be awarded by March 2013 through the PPP route. Two new locomotive manufacturing units will also be set up. 

 

In civil aviation, work will be awarded on three new greenfield airports in Navi Mumbai, Goa and Kannur and new international airports at Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore, Trichy and Gaya, Singh said. Two new hubs will be developed in the country to enable it to be a destination as well as transit point, he said.

 

A record 18,000 MW of capacity will be added in the power sector, the Prime Minister said. He also said 9,500 kilometres  of roads for construction and over 4,000 kms for maintenance would be awarded this fiscal.  

 

In the shipping sector, the Prime Minister said that two new ports would be built through the PPP model and that capacity would be increased by about three times. 

 

Noting that infrastructure development will be an integral part of any strategy for fast economic development, the Prime Minister said that doing so would boost investment rates across the economy in the short term.


"In the long run, it will remove the supply constraints that affect industry and trade," he said.

 

Various power and road projects are stuck due to environment or financial hurdles. Today's meeting may address these issues, sources said. Many highway projects in the country are stalled as these companies are unable to tie up funds for these projects. It is expected that over 8,000 km of road projects could be fast-tracked.

International investors highlighted a policy paralysis as a key issue and often raised concerns about India’s infrastructure. The outcome of the meeting would be closely watched.


Investors are concerned about the government’s ability to provide an investment stimulus in the context of a high fiscal deficit. The government already spends more money that it earns. In 2008, the Indian government spent money on job creating infrastructure projects. However, it has to rely on the private sector this time to boost investment.

 

K Venkatesh, managing director, L&T Infrastructure Development told NDTV Profit that there is a need to speed up Centre-State coordination for infrastructure projects and to check action on the ground.


“The government should set milestones for infrastructure projects, which should be monitored. The infrastructure sector needs to have stable interest rates,” he said. 


“This is an excellent development to improve the sentiment across the sector,” said A Subba Rao, CFO, GMR adding that they will wait for the execution of these announcements. “If infrastructure will not grow, the economy will not grow,” he said. 


India's infrastructure sector output grew 2.2 percent in April from a year earlier. For the 2011/12 fiscal year that ended in March, the output rose 4.4 percent, compared with an annual rise of 6.6 percent in the previous year, data showed. The infrastructure sector accounts for 37.9 percent of India's industrial output.

 



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