PM calls meet on infrastructure

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of economic slowdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to issue directions for scaling up infrastructure targets when he holds a meeting on Wednesday to take stock of such sectors at a time when projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore are pending.

The meeting, called as part of an exercise to boost investor sentiment in the country, will be attended by ministers of infrastructure ministries like power, coal, aviation, shipping and road transport. It is expected to assess the steps to be taken to address hurdles in the path of pushing growth in these sectors, sources said here today. The Prime Minister intends to ensure that ambitious targets are set for major infrastructure sectors and these are achieved as per schedule, the sources said.

At the meeting, significantly scaled up infrastructure targets are expected to be announced, they said. The government has maintained that USD one trillion would be required in the infrastructure sector during the 12th Plan (2012-17) of which it expects 50 per cent from private sector.

The meeting assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of economic growth falling to nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2011-12 and contraction of industrial output in March quarter. According to Finance Ministry documents, projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore are pending because of absence of regulatory clearances. These are in the sectors of power, steel, highways and cement.

These projects are besides the mega projects like USD 12 billion Posco steel project and USD 90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which are also delayed on various counts like clearances and land acquisition. The meeting comes close on the heels of the decision by the Prime Minister to set up Investment Tracking System to monitor the status of projects of Rs 1,000 crore and above.