To power ambitious highway growth plans, NHAI will soon come up with a bonds issue offering attractive coupon rates of above 7 per cent, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, urging the common man to invest in it rather than in chit funds and other such schemes.
To power ambitious highway growth plans, NHAI will soon come up with a bonds issue offering attractive coupon rates of above 7 per cent, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, urging the common man to invest in it rather than in chit funds and other such schemes. “We have decided that NHAI will raise funds from the poor… We will try to give 7.5 per cent to the common man and 7.75 per cent to women, those above 60 years and defence personnel. They will get interest for 10 years. Monthly interest will be submitted to their accounts,” Gadkari, the Road, Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister, said here. Gadkari said his ministry will soon begin work on Rs 7.5 -lakh-crore highway projects under Bharatmala. He was addressing a ceremony to award certificates for skill development to workmen from highways construction sector and launch a programme for imparting skill development to one lakh workers here. “I will urge workers and the poor to not to invest in chit funds and other such schemes. Those labourers, constables, journalists, people doing small jobs … we will seek their investment in NHAI bonds. Those in Defence Services, woman and above 60 years old we will give more interest to them. We are still to finalise it,” he said. The minister said NHAI bonds have a rating of AAA and the 10-year bonds offer much lucrative prospects. “Banks give 6 per cent and 5.5 per cent interest. We will give you 7.5 and 7.75 per cent interest. The interest will be deposited in the account of the poor and we will build roads from the money of the poor,” he said.
Gadkari said the ministry plans to train about 3.5 lakh workers under the skill development programme for highways. Earlier this year, Moody’s Investors Service had upgraded the issuer ratings of NHAI saying it follows the upgrade of the Indian sovereign rating and reflects the strategic importance of these entities to the country, as well as their close operational and financial links with the government. Rating agency CRISIL too has said that reforms by NHAI had resulted in a steep decline in the percentage of high risk highways projects from 53 per cent two years back to 21 per cent now. Gadkari said that his ministry’s ambitious schemes including Bharatmala and Rs 14 lakh crore Sagarmala for port- led development offer huge skill development programme and called the Skill Development Ministry to come forward in this direction. He also said that a certain percentage of the projects above Rs 100 crore will be earmarked mandatorily for skill development and his ministry alone would create 2 crore jobs.
He said India faces shortages of 22 lakh drivers and one lakh driving training centres were on the anvil in the first phase in collaboration with states. Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged the highways ministry to put a tender condition in all contracts that all construction workers will get training and certificates. Commending Gadkari for “out of box” thinking and projects, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has commended the highways minister’s works and his ministry has earmarked Rs 15,000 crore out of Rs 1.3 lakh crore projects for workers payment only.