PM Narendra Modi meets infrastructure secretaries to set targets, identify projects

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 27 2014, 00:56am hrs
Narendra ModiInfrastructure sector is a focus area for Narendra Modi-led government. (Photo: AP)
Aiming to spruce up economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met secretaries of nine infrastructure ministries to set targets for 2014-15 and identify key projects in sectors like road, power and railways.

According to sources, Planning Commission Secretary Sindhushree Khullar made a 15-page presentation on the performance of core infrastructure ministries in 2013-14 and deliberated on the targets suggested by the ministries for the current fiscal.

Infrastructure sector is a focus area for the Modi-led government.

The Centre is keen to speed up infrastructure development and investment to boost economic growth which remained at sub 5 per cent level during the previous two fiscals.

Secretaries and senior officials from nine infrastructure ministries - power, road transport, shipping, civil aviation, coal, petroleum, railways, telecom and renewable energy - were present in the meeting. Besides, top officials from Rural Development Ministry and Environment and Forest Ministry also attended the meeting.

Source said the Commission has proposed laying of 300 km new railway track during the current fiscal. Indian railways laid 450 kms of new track in 2013-14, which was short of the targeted 500 km.

Similarly, the Plan panel, proposed to set a target of 700 km for doubling of rail tracks in the current fiscal against 900 km targeted in 2013-14. Indian railways achieved doubling of around 700 km of rail track in previous fiscal.

For the civil aviation sector, the Commission has proposed to lower the investment target from Rs 1,008 crore in previous fiscal to Rs 934 crore in the current fiscal. The investment realisation was about 55 per cent of the target in 2013-14.

The plan to develop airports in non-metro cities was also discussed at the meeting.

Problems being faced by road and transport ministries were also deliberated upon.

As many as 189 highway projects involving a cost of Rs 1,80,000 crore are stuck due to problems of land acquisition, delays in forest and environment clearances, non-transfer of defence land and hurdles in rail over bridges, among other things.

The issue of coal shortage was also deliberated upon in the meeting, sources said, adding matters related to transmission and distribution of electricity along with fuel scarcity being faced by the power sector was also discussed.

The means and ways of connecting all 2.5 lakh panchayats in the country with broadband services by March 2017 also came up for discussions.

Secretaries of rural development and environment & forest, among others, attended the meeting.

Though India is the largest PPP market in the world with over 900 projects in various stages of development, it is facing a huge infrastructure deficit.