Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kamal Nath embarks on mission to attract Investment in India’s Infrastructure Plans

Hong Kong, March 23, 2010: Kamal Nath, India's cabinet minister for road transport and highways made the first luncheon address at the 2010 Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference to a packed room yesterday. His talk kept the audience engaged, but lacked specifics regarding his plans to meet his infrastructure development targets for India.
His new role sees Nath regularly attending conferences as he tries to persuade investors to buy into India's infrastructure plans, both literally and figuratively. "India is not only the world's largest democracy but also the world's rowdiest, so our solutions have to be India-specific," Nath said, defending the slow pace of change for which India is often criticised. He went on to say that it is no surprise to him that the US stimulus package has an emphasis on infrastructure as this is the need of the hour.

Highlighting India’s robustness in the financial crisis, he said, "We felt some stress as an inter-connected but not inter-dependent economy. Globally, governments are giving money to their banks to keep them afloat, but in India banks are giving money to the government".
Nath stressed the fact that India had the 2nd largest road network in the world with 3.4 million kilometers of developed roads. He also added that India's rural road connectivity programme has been a success and is something China is now embarking upon.
Nath has set himself an ambitious target to build 7000km of roads annually, which is about 20km daily. To achieve this target India needs to have WIP [work-in-progress] of 20,000km of roads at an estimated outlay of $50 billion. Nath was also optimistic about India being equipped with the local talent needed to meet the challenge of building its infrastructure.
His address ended with a smattering of applause as he said, "For your information, Indian investment in the US over the past two years has created more jobs in America than US investment in India has created". Nath is now on his way to Canada, where, according to media reports, he will attempt to attract more investment into Indian roads.

Image Courtesy- The Hindu

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