India, the third largest Asian economy, needs USD 1 trillion for infrastructure development.

Government of India  Photo: Laurie Jones / Flickr / Wikipedia
Government of India
Photo: Laurie Jones / Flickr / Wikipedia

Indian Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that although the government has funds, policymakers are facing difficulties in implementing various development projects mainly because of shortage of manpower. According to him, it has become necessary to construct new roads, ports and airports in India in the next few years in order to boost the economic growth.

The minister termed infrastructure building as a “major challenge”, saying that the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi is committed to transform India’s infrastructure into a developed one as funds is not a constraint. “Money is not a problem, mentality is. Unfortunately, we have a demoralised bureaucracy,” stressed Gadkari.

At the same time, the minister assured people that the government would overcome bureaucratic hurdles and complete road projects. He stressed that a number of construction companies have become victims of the government’s indecisiveness and the need for multiple approvals. Gadkari informed the press that the government has held several rounds of discussions with bankers and contractors to clarify issues related to land acquisition and project approval. “In the next five years, we are going to change the infrastructure of this country. I know my work, I am doing it,” he told reporters.

Claiming that building of infrastructure would add 2% to the India’s GDP growth, Gadkari insisted that the Transport, Highways and Shipping Ministry is trying hard to achieve the target of constructing 30km of new roads per day by March 31. He further said that the ministry is also working towards achieving an ambitious target of 100km roads per day.

As far as development of Indian waterways is concerned, the minister expressed disappointment over the development of Inland waterways, saying: “My priority is waterways. We have an INR 450,000 million budget for roads, but only have Rs 10,000 million for waterways.”

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]