The private sector will have to increase its participation in infrastructure projects if the country has to progress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday. Inaugurating a conference on ‘Building Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities’, he said infrastructure would need a projected investment of $320 billion (Rs 14,50,000 crores) up to 2012, which public resources cannot possibly meet.
“We will need to run hard just to stay where we are. Our growth potential will be realised only if we can ensure that our infrastructure does not become a severe handicap... It is imperative we explore avenues for increasing investment in infrastructure through a combination of public investment, public private partnerships and occasionally, exclusive private investments wherever possible,” he said.
The prime minister recognised that attracting private capital would be “neither easy nor automatic”. But he promised a transparent policy, admitting more had to be done to bring about an independent and proper regulatory mechanism.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram highlighted the success of public private participation in the telecom and aviation sectors.