Buoyed by infrastructure development, especially in highways and shipping sectors, picking pace in India, the government is dreaming big.
The government has drawn up an ambitious plan to set up India Infrastructure International, a joint initiative of the highways ministry, shipping ministry and infrastructure companies, which will compete in the global market for undertaking infrastructure projects.
“Apart from giving consultancy, preparing project reports, the company will facilitate the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the central agency that builds highways across India, as well as private infrastructure companies to bid globally for projects,” said a senior highways ministry official.
The ministry last week moved a cabinet note in this regard.
“While the highways and shipping ministry will have 40% equity in the company, the remaining 60% will be held by infrastructure companies and industry federations such as FICCI and CII,” said another official.
The official, however, said the NHAI’s global foray won’t be at the cost of its domestic commitments: “NHAI’s main priority would still be building highways in India.”
The ministry plans to build 20,000km of highways in the next four-five years at an investment of Rs 1.86 lakh crore.
The idea to set up the company came after a six-member committee headed by RC Sinha, advisor to highways minister Nitin Gadkari, last year recommended taking the NHAI to foreign shores. The committee in its report recommended setting up a separate agency to undertake offshore projects on the lines of ONGC Videsh, which works overseas in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas.
Gadkari later decided to expand the proposal to rope in the shipping ministry and infrastructure companies.