PM pushes for infrastructure, vows to revive growth story
NEW DELHI PRIME Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said his government will remove all bottlenecks in the infrastructure sector and create an environment for investment to revive the India growth story.
“In these difficult times, we must do everything possible to revive business and investor sentiment,” Singh said, reviewing the functioning and issues related to core sectors like aviation, power, transport, shipping and coal with cabinet colleagues in charge of these portfolios.
“We are 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.
Our government (is) committed to taking the necessary measures to reverse the present situation and revive India’s growth story,” the prime minister said.
“We are aware that we have to act on multiple fronts to achieve this, and we will indeed do all that is required of us to make it a reality. All of us agree that development of infrastructure is always an integral part of any strategy for the fast economic development of any region or country,” said the prime minister.
He asked the ministers to “go the extra mile” in implementing what had been planned so that the country could return to the 9 per cent growth trajectory soon.
Wednesday’s meeting was held in the backdrop of growth rate falling to its lowest levels in nine years and disappointing performance of the key infrastructure sectors.
The growth rate of core industries (which have a combined weight of 37.90 per cent in the Index of Industrial Production), had slumped to 2.2 per cent in April, according to the government data released recently.
The prime minister accepted that the major problem being faced by the sector is funding. Almost all the industries have complained that the cost of domestic funds is too high and external assistance hard to get.
India needs more than $1 trillion during the 12th Five- Year Plan period of 2012-17, of which 50 percent is expected to come from the private sector.
“The government alone cannot invest such a huge amount and therefore it is important to involve the private sector through publicprivate partnerships,” the prime minister said, pushing for greater public-private partnership in infrastructure development.
According to sources, the meeting decided on going ahead with elevated rail project in Mumbai, fast-tracking of three new greenfield airports in Navi Mumbai, Goa and Kannur and building of new or upgradation of existing airports at Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore, Trichy and Gaya to handle the expected rise in the international tourists traffic.
In the power sector, 18,000 MW of additional capacity will be added while two new ports under the public private partnerships model will come up during the period.
The ministers, according to the sources, have been asked to work on the details early and expedite these projects.