Gadkari spells out the moves towards the future of India’s infrastructure
The infrastructure sector plays a significant role in accelerating the overall growth of India. India has been experiencing rapid growth in this sector and in a recent interview Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari talked about the government’s plan about revitalizing the infrastructure sector. A few of the issues on which the Minister shed light was illuminating.
Electric Vehicles: Electric busses re already on the roads of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and other states. Airports have already introduced this and electric tractors would soon join the market.
“ …it will be a very cost-effective import substitute, and will also be pollution-free and indigenous.” He added further.
Lithium-ion batteries are mainly imported from China and considering the tough situation between the two countries, he revealed that Indian organizations are finding the solution and even research for sodium-ion batteries, a viable and cheaper alternative, is in the final stage. “I am very confident about our IITs and engineers. We will get success in this field. The sodium-ion batteries are very cheap… We will be the number one manufacturer of electric bikes, scooters, tractors, trucks, and even electric construction equipment in due course” he said.
India is also collaborating with Lithium-ion rich countries like Argentina, Chile and Bolivia to reduce dependence on China.
Elon Musk’s Test too would be coming to India this year. It would begin with its sales operations. Once the sales increase, they will move to assemble, and then manufacture.
MSME: Underlining how the government is planning to bring MSMEs back on their feet, Gadkari said that the government had already sanctioned Rs 3 lakh crore for collateral-free loans for MSMEs. Of this, Rs 2 lakh crore has been sanctioned, and disbursement stands between Rs 1.6-1.8 lakh crore.
“We had also given Rs 20,000 crore for distressed MSMEs. We have restructured (debts of) around six lakh MSMEs under it. We also announced a ‘fund of funds’ for MSMEs to provide equity support of Rs 50,000 crore. Of the total exports by the country, MSMEs account for 48 percent. Their contribution to the GDP is 30 percent. I want the 48 percent export figure to reach 60 percent and GDP contribution to become 40 percent. MSMEs have created 11 crore jobs, and in the coming time we want them to create five crores more jobs.”
Infrastructure for Future: Gadkari talked about the 1,200 crores multi-modal Nagpur station project which is designed by an American architect and will be among the five best railway stations in the world. He also mentioned that they have also got permissions for six coach based high tech metros with all luxuries including air conditioner, economy, and business classes.
He also said that while the cost of building the Metro in Nagpur, Pune, and Delhi is Rs 350 crore per kilometer, The one which they have proposed costs Rs 5 crore per kilometer (the Nagpur broad gauge Metro).
“I have prepared a new model for this project. I am holding a meeting with the Vidarbha Industries Association and the Metro team in a few days. I have also invited travel and tourism companies for the meeting. One Metro will cost Rs 36 crore. These private companies can buy one or two Metros. The Nagpur Metro will provide the driver… If this service becomes popular, people will stop using the road. This is Nagpur’s first public-private investment. The system will use the country’s existing broad gauge, and the capital cost will also be less. So, we are doing things which are of an international standard, and some of these projects are also being done for the first time in the world.” Said Gadkari
Waterways: Gadkari didn’t miss any point and from Metros to the road, he seemed to equally concerned about the waterways. He said, “We are ensuring waterways only on two rivers, which will have water around the year… Apart from this, it is also important to develop port-related infrastructure such as godowns, cold storage facilities, railway line connectivity.”
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