India needs $1.5 trillion for infra, says Jaitley

India needs $1.5 trillion for infra, says Jaitley

India needs $1.5 trillion for infra, says Jaitley

 India needs over $1.5 trillion in investment in the next 10 years to bridge the infrastructure gap as the government intends to connect seven hundred thousand villages with roads by 2019, as part of a massive modernisation plan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on day.

“We have been able to sustain growth in the phase of global slowdown essentially on the strength of the infrastructure creation in India where the gap is huge,” Jaitley, who is in China to attend the Board of Governors of AIIB, said.

“Over the next decade, we require over $1.5 trillion in India alone to fill up the infrastructure gap. We also use the additional resource which is available with us as a result of falling prices because that regime helps us.

“In investing large public finance into infrastructure, for instance, we have 700,000 villages in India. We intend to connect each of them by 2019,” he said, while addressing a seminar on “Infrastructure and Global Economic Growth” organised by China-sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) along with finance ministers of many countries.

He also spoke of a massive rural sanitation programme as part of India’s current infrastructure programme.

“In terms of highway construction, this year alone our target is 10,000 km. Our railway system is over 100-years-old. We are going in for a massive modernisation,” he said.

Jaitley said the government is seeking private sector participation in converting railway stations into commercial hubs.

The government plans to build more airports, sea ports and generate more power, particularly renewable energy which is ecologically also better from all points of view, he said.

“These are all the emphasis areas we have undertaken,” he said.
About arranging funding for the massive development, he said, “We realise that the starting point is public finances. It is only when the public finances are put into it, you start attracting and the activity begins a lot of private funds”.

At the same time, there are large number of developmental institutions like the World Bank, ADB which put in a lot of money because infrastructure funding also brings in long-time returns on a sustainable basis, Jaitley said.