Nath: Plan panel needs to transform itself

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 20 2010, 05:11am hrs
Road transport minister Kamal Nath fires fresh salvo on the Planning Commission, saying that the plan panel needs a structural change.

Addressing a function here on Tuesday at the release of a book authored by editor of a news channel Raghav Bahl, Nath said, Just like IMF, which has to transform itself, the Commission should transform itself... It is a structural issue.

The plan panel and the ministry have earlier differed on various issues. Nath had earlier described the panel as an armchair advisor.

Deputy chairman of plan panel Montek Singh Ahluwalia had countered Naths view by pointing out, You cannot run a government only with people who know how to build roads. You have to give them a set of rules...

While the ministry is keen to build 20 km of highways every day, the plan panel wants it to chase a reasonable target, in line with availability of funds.

We will certainly achieve the 20 km-a-day (road construction) target, reiterated Nath.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by Nath, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), M Damodaran, opined the Commission must be wound up.

Nath had unveiled his ministry's ambitious plan of constructing 35,000 km of highways in five years soon after assuming charge as transport minister last year.

Releasing the book titled Super Power: The Amazing Ways Between China's Hare and Indias Tortoise, Nath said,

We should not be too critical of ourselves. He said India has done a great job in improving rural infrastructure, adding that the next revolution should target rural areas.

He said the advantage of India will lie in its demography. China will grow old before it grows rich, he said.

The minister also underlined the need for addressing issues that are hampering the growth of infrastructure facilities in urban areas.

In our urban infrastructure whether these are ports, airports or roads... When I struggle to achieve our targets, I see huge issues. There are issues of land, he added.