Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurating the 19th Indo-US Economic Summit of The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce through video conferencing, in New Delhi on Monday, September 13, 2022.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurating the 19th Indo-US Economic Summit of The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce through video conferencing, in New Delhi on Monday, September 13, 2022.

Gadkari wants US investors' involvement in Indian road and highways projects in India

New Delhi, September 13, 2022

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has called for investors from the US to fund roads and highways projects in India, describing it as a goldmine for investors.

Inaugurating the 19th Indo-US Economic Summit of The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce through video conferencing on Monday, the Minister said the US and India were prominent democracies with strong bilateral relations.

“We are natural partners and have a lot to contribute to mutual growth. Both countries have always shown mutual trust, respect and cooperation on the social, economic and strategic front. The theme chosen this year- 'The New Agenda for next 25 years', will set the roadmap for strengthening our relationship,” he added.

“Our emphasis has been on creating a sustainable business ecosystem with an inclusive growth model. We need to encourage out-of-the-box thought processes and promote creative agenda to weave new pathways.“

The Minister emphasized that, at present, India was one of the fastest growing economies and stands in the fifth position in the world. A well-developed infrastructure enhances economic activity, creates new businesses and promotes job creation.

“Our Government is investing 1.4 trillion dollars in infrastructure development through the National Infrastructure Pipeline. The road sector will account for 19% of this capital expenditure from 2019 to 2025. The Government has launched the Prime Minister National Gati Shakti Master Plan for holistic and integrated infrastructure development in the country. With Gati-Shakti, all stakeholders will follow the rule of 3 C’s: Cooperation, Coordination & Communication," he said.

Gadkari said road infrastructure plays a critical role in the growth of the Indian economy as 70% of goods and nearly 90% of passenger traffic use the road network to commute. "In 2014, we had around 91,000 km of the National Highway network. At present, this network has reached around 1.47 lakh kms. The Government is working towards expanding the National Highway network to 2 lakh kilometres by 2025," he added.

The Minister said India is constructing 27 greenfield expressways of 10,000 km across the country with an investment of Rs. 5 lakh crore, about $ 60 billion. These corridors result in a 14% reduction in travel distance between the key economic centres and this would further ensure a reduction in transportation costs by 2.5%. In addition, there would be a saving of around 110 crore litres of fuel and a reduction of carbon dioxide emission by 250 crore kg every year, he said.

Gadkari said a new policy called "Tree Bank" was being formulated for tree cutting & transplantation. As per policy, authorities such as NHAI, NHIDCL, airport and port authorities have to maintain a tree bank account having a record of planting and felling of trees during project development.

“We are bringing innovative and investor-friendly products like InvIT to allow retail investors to participate in the funding drive. We are designing the products so that retail investors can get good annual returns that are more than the Fixed Deposit rates. The Chamber should take a lead and identify areas where our talented human resources can contribute to designing the best Financial Instruments to enable investments in Indian Infra Space.

“We have a well-developed framework for Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) in the highway sector. Asian Development Bank has ranked India at the first spot in PPP operational maturity and also designated India as a developed market for PPPs. All project documentation, contractual decisions and approvals are now being done through the digital portal,” he added.

“India is becoming the largest EV market for electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers and cars. The Government is strongly encouraging solar and wind energy-based charging mechanisms for electric mobility. We are also working on the development of an Electric Highway which will be powered by solar energy. This will facilitate the charging of heavy-duty trucks and buses while running. The US-based companies can collaborate with our research and development efforts toward EV battery technologies and retrofitting industry.

“Our National Hydrogen Mission offers incentives for the production & transportation of green hydrogen,” he said.

Gadkari called upon the Chamber to contribute to the development of low-cost and reliable electrolysers and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

NNN

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