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Railways could add 2 pc to India GDP: Pitroda

Gandhinagar: Advisor to Prime Minister, Sam Pitroda on Tuesday said that railways could add as much as two per cent to country`s GDP if its operations are revamped and modernised.

"Railways done right could add 2 per cent to GDP. It is used by common people, it is used to haul coal for our power plants…railways are the real reserve of this country," Pitroda, who is advisor to PM Manmohan Singh on public information, infrastructure and innovation, told reporters on sidelines of an event here.

The Sam Pitroda committee report has projected an investment requirement of USD 200 billion to modernise Indian railways. The committee included experts like Deepak Parekh, Maya Verma, Rajiv Lal, who spent four months together, to put together a plan which they felt was right for the people of India, he said.

"As experts, we have put together a plan which we felt that was right for the people of India, which required investments of USD 200 billion. We felt that without this kind of investment you cannot modernise railways, and without modernisation you cant ensure safety," Pitroda said.

"In the past we have not paid attention to railways, we have looked at incremental changes in it only. Now, we have thought of a generational change, so we have submitted the report and now the government has to deal with it," he said.

Meanwhile, a team led by Sam Pitroda is working to prepare first draft policy on innovation, which is expected to be out in next 3-4 months. "I, believe we need a new policy on innovation, so our team is working on a first draft policy on innovation, these are all the new things we need in 21st century. I expect the draft to be out in next 3-4 months," Pitroda said, replying to a query.

"We not only need new policies, we need new institutions. Institutions of 20th century dont work, to meet the needs of 21st century," Pitroda, who was here to deliver convocational address at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute, said.

Pitroda asked Entrepreneurship Development Institute to prepare draft for enterpreneurship policy, within 90 days by consulting stakeholders. "I assume that there is no policy for entrepreneurship in the country. If it is not there, I said I take the responsibility, you work with the community, draft the policy for us to consider it in the government in next 90 days," Pitroda said.

"But, while drafting, reach out to people and not just remain confined to Ahmedabad, he said.

EDI Director Dr Dinesh Awasthi during his speech had highlighted the need for a entrepreneurship policy in the country. "In India it is more important to create jobs than to take away jobs. India would need large number of new jobs," Pitroda said.

A nation like India having young population of 550 million needs 15 million new jobs every year, jobs will have to be created in Small, Medium and micro enterprises, he said. SME has to be engine of growth for India and that can be done by entrepreneurs in the country who are willing to take risk. We in the government have to support these entrepreneurs, Pitroda said.

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