With the civil society taking up cudgels over rising corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday stressed on transparency in awarding highway projects to eliminate any suspicion of favouritism or crony capitalism.
Addressing a conference on public private partnership (PPP) in national highways (NH) Singh said, "We must remember that these are public projects where public interest must be foremost in our mind."
The prime minister added: "It is necessary to demonstrate that the award, construction and operation of these projects are based on a fair and transparent approach which eliminates any suspicion of favouritism or what might be described as crony capitalism."
The prime minister said that for a large road building programme efficiency, economy, competition and transparency are vital touchstones that should be used for judging the level of success.
"These are especially important when we deal with the private sector," he said.
Encouraging PPP in the road sector, the prime minister said that one of the important preconditions for achieving 9 per cent economic growth target during the 12th Plan was to double the investment in infrastructure to $1 trillion from the about $5 hundred billion dollar in the 11th Plan.
Singh said that the 12th Plan strategy calls for exploring the scope for such PPP as much as possible.
Road transport minister CP Joshi said that his ministry has targeted Rs 50,000 crore private investment in the highways sector in 2011-12 from awarding contracts for building 7,300 km of roads.