An integrated policy is on the anvil to ramp up infrastructure at a time when India’s revenue receipts are set to touch the Rs 30 lakh-crore mark in the next two years, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.
“An integrated policy for the sector will be formulated and placed before the nation to bolster its economic growth. Unlike the precedent of working in silos, various ministries like road, port, rail, aviation and shipping would closely coordinate,” said Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of road transport, highways and shipping, after inaugurating the India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit 2017 here.
The maiden IITL summit saw various government departments come together on a single platform.
Gadkari said such a huge initiative is taken for the first time and various departments will hold meetings to chalk out a policy which could be placed before the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.
This is seen as a step towards realising the Prime Minister’s vision of holistic development as augmenting infrastructure, the topmost priority of the government, will help eradicate poverty.
The minister is optimistic that the three-day summit, which got under way today, would garner Rs 2 lakh crore investment.
The summit is in line with the government’s plans to have an effective multi-modal logistics and transport sector to make Indian economy more competitive.
Claiming that this government is “pro-poor”, the minister added that extensive planning to boost infrastructure will not only reduce the high logistics cost, but realise the dream of double-digit growth soon.
“If we have to wipe out poverty, if we want to achieve double-digit growth, we will have to augment infrastructure in an integrated manner and we are focusing on developing a network of waterways, railways and highways,” Gadkari said.
Terming GST as “a historic decision”, the minister exuded confidence that the major tax reform coupled with demonetisation are bound to give a push to the country’s total revenue receipts.
“Post-demonetisation and GST regime, India’s revenue receipts are likely to touch Rs 28-30 lakh crore in the next two years coupled with steps to strengthen infrastructure,” Gadkari said.
When the NDA government took over in 2014, the revenue receipts read Rs 13 lakh crore, which could scale up to Rs 20 lakh crore during the three years of the present regime, the minister pointed out.
He also touched on employment part, saying holistic development of a massive network of roads, ports, rail and aviation will create more jobs.
His ministry, Gadkari said, is taking the length of National Highways to 2 lakh km soon and is committed to achieving a target of building 40 km of roads a day from the current 23 km.
Thirteen expressways are on the anvil and work has been initiated on five of them with a target of completing the Rs 12,000 crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway by August 15 this year.
A total of 13,000 roadside amenities like rest areas for drivers, restaurants etc are in the works with tenders for 70 already received.
Efforts are also on to build world-class highways so that trucks in India can soon drive about 350 km a day. Due to poor infrastructure, trucks here can manage to cover about 225 km a day compared to about 800 km a day in the US and 350 km in China.
Stressing on the need for warehouses, he said fruits and vegetables worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore rot every year as “we cannot store that”.
Making the point that the integrated approach will boost farmers as well, Gadkari urged Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to ensure installation of stalls for products like oranges from Nagpur, Alphonso from Konkan, grapes from Nasik and flowers from Sikkim at railways stations and airports.
Such steps would not only ensure revenue for farmers, but boost sales, he said.
The minister said that the government plans to bring down logistics costs drastically to enhance exports and create huge employment.
The road transport and highways ministry plans to build 35 multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs) in the country which will cater to 50% of the freight movement, enable 10% reduction in transportation costs and 12% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Land parcels have already been identified and pre- feasibility studies initiated at six of these locations.
The parks will be developed jointly by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHDICL) and respective state governments.
The government is also working on formulating a uniform policy for development of MMLP. It has identified sites for the proposed 35 logistics parks to be set up on railways, highways, inland waterways and airports transportation grid.
Fifteen such logistics parks will be constructed in the next five years, and 20 more over the next 10 years. These will act as hubs for freight movement allowing freight aggregation and distribution with modern and mechanised warehousing space.
An official said a joint venture will be set up between the NHAI and a partner which could be a state government with 49% and 51% stakes, respectively.
As per the plans, of the total land acquired for the project, 40% will be developed and returned to the land owner. Of the remaining, 20% will be sold to finance the project while the profit from the rest 40% will go to the NHAI.
The ministry has also sought infrastructure status for these logistics parks.