The Telegraph
Sunday , July 27 , 2014
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Modi sets core growth targets

Modi: Priority list

New Delhi, July 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met secretaries of key infrastructure ministries, including rail, road, power and telecom, to set the target for the current financial year.

The Prime minister told the secretaries that infrastructure was a key priority for the government.

Planning Commission secretary Sindhushree Khullar made a 15-page presentation on the performance of core infrastructure ministries in 2013-14 and discussed the targets suggested by the ministries for the current fiscal, officials said.

The Centre is keen to speed up infrastructure development and investment to boost economic growth, which remained below 5 per cent during the previous two financial years.

Of 239 central infrastructure projects costing Rs 1,000 crore and above, 110 are delayed, the economic survey for 2013-14 had said.

The cost overrun for these 239 projects is estimated to be Rs 1,57,802 crore, 21.3 per cent of the estimated cost.

The country’s infrastructure is estimated to require over $1 trillion in investments during the 12th Five-Year Plan period ending 2017. The sector has, however, suffered in the recent past because of a host of reasons, including difficulties in getting project clearances, some judicial interventions and also higher interest rates.

Secretaries and senior officials from nine infrastructure ministries — power, road transport, shipping, civil aviation, coal, petroleum, railways, telecom and renewable energy — were present at the meeting.

Top officials from the rural development ministry and the environment and forest ministries also attended the meeting.

Sources said the Planning Commission had proposed the laying of 300km of new railway track during the current fiscal. The railways had laid 450km of new track in 2013-14, 50 km short of the target.

The plan panel has also proposed to set a target of 700km for doubling of rail tracks in the current fiscal against 900km planned in 2013-14. The railways had managed to cover around 700km of track under doubling project in the previous fiscal.

For the civil aviation sector, the commission has proposed to lower its investment target from Rs 1,008 crore in the previous fiscal to Rs 934 crore in the current fiscal. The sector had managed to invest only 55 per cent of the target in 2013-14.

The plan to develop airports in non-metro cities was also discussed.

The meeting also discussed the problems being faced by road and transport ministries.

Around 189 highway projects involving a cost of Rs 1,80,000 crore are stuck because of problems of land acquisition, delays in forest and environment clearances, non-transfer of defence land and hurdles in rail over-bridges.

The issue of coal shortage was also taken up, sources said. Problems in the transmission and distribution of electricity along with fuel shortage in the power sector was also discussed.