Shipping, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday exuded confidence that the Sagarmala project — aimed at promoting port-led development — will fetch nearly R12-15-lakh crore capital investments, generate direct and indirect employment for around two crore people and provide a huge fillip to the country’s economic growth.
Talking to reporters after inaugurating Sagarmala Development Company, a unit under his ministry that will act as the nodal agency for the project, Gadkari said R8-lakh crore investment is expected as industrial investment while an additional R4 lakh crore might go into port-led connectivity. Further investment is likely in other related areas.
The minister said projects worth R1 lakh crore under the Sagarmala programme are already under various stages of implementation and by the completion of the present dispensation’s current tenure in 2019, projects worth R5 lakh crore are expected to commence.
Gadkari further said a national perspective plan under the Sagarmala project has been prepared and projects worth R8 lakh crore have been identified.
“This project will be a game changer. It will be the biggest project in the history of the country,” Gadkari said.
Incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013, SDC has R1,000-crore initial authorised capital. The ministry has already started the process to appoint a full-time managing director for the company.
Apart from port modernisation and new port development, the Sagarmala project also aims at port-led industrialisation, promoting cruise tourism, port connectivity enhancement, setting up multi-modal logistics parks, coastal community development and development of the fisheries sector among others.
Asked about funding, Gadkari said, “I don’t have any problem with financial resources. We have already appointed an agency to help us raise funds.”
India has around 7,500-km long coastline, but the country transports only 6% of its cargo through the waterways compared with around 55% on roadways and 35% by the railways. As a result, India’s logistics costs as percentage of its GDP is as high as 19% compared with 12.5% in China.
Gadkari said India’s exports would go up by one and a half times if the country was able to reduce its logistics costs to 12%. India’s cargo traffic growth is expected to increase to 2,500 MT in 2024-25 from 1,072 MT in 2015-16.
In India, share of coastal and inland water transport is 2-3% compared to China’s 25%.