New Delhi: “Keeping the PM’s vision of India becoming an US$ 5 trillion economy in the next 5 years, the Government has launched the National infrastructure Pipeline under which it has planned to invest Rs. 111 lakh crores on infra projects by 2024-25,” stated Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME, Government of India, while speaking at a special session on the CII Partnership Summit 2020, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
Stating that the Government is continually working towards upgrading infrastructure, Mr Gadkari further added, “The National infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is a first of its kind exercise to provide world class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens”.
Highlighting the various key initiatives undertaken by the Government of India (GOI) to encourage the infrastructure space such as the TOT (toll-operate-transfer) model on highways and roads, re-allotting project risk to private sector through models such as BOT (build-operate-transfer), etc., Mr Gadkari stated that these have achieved global appreciation from the investor community.
Speaking on taxation and restructuring reforms, Mr Gadkari noted that reforms such as reduction of corporate tax rates, 100% tax exemption to investors, and implementation of GST have positioned India as a competitive market in the world, particularly in terms of ease of paying taxes.
Elaborating on the huge potential of the roadways sector, Mr Gadkari announced that the GOI is targeting to invest Rs. 25 lakh crores in the road development sector. Commencement of two major highway projects – “Amritsar-Ajmer” & “Delhi-Amritsar-Katra”, worth Rs. 65,000 crores were also announced by the Minister at the summit.
Mr. Gadkari also shared plans of the Government to build a city of international standards with a health station, in cooperation with the J&K and Ladakh Governments.
Highlighting the huge opportunity in the MSME sector. Mr. Gadkari stated, “With the global realignment taking place, MSMEs would play a great role in redefining their contribution to the Indian economy”. The Government has plans to expand the contribution of MSMEs from the current 30% to 40% of GDP, he further added.
Mr. Gadkari stated that while the pandemic has adversely affected the MSME sector, the Government has undertaken the right policy interventions including the change in MSME definition, the Credit Guarantee Scheme, Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme, MSME cluster development programme, etc. to make the sector self-reliant.
Underscoring the importance of aligning with Global Value Chains (GVCs), Mr. Gadkari added that as 80% of global trade happens through GVCs and most enterprises involved in GVCs are medium enterprises, the Indian Government has taken several steps in this direction, including the adoption of technologies such as AI and machine learning to strengthen the sector and also boost global exports.
While highlighting the importance of digitalization in the new age, Mr. Gadkari stated that the Government is committed to 100% adoption of the electronic toll system. In this context, he highlighted the role of industry in the successful implementation of electronic toll tax.
The Minister added that the Government is committed to provide a favourable environment and a transparent policy framework for investors and that he is confident that India will become a major global investment destination.
Emphasizing the huge value that infrastructure brings to the Indian economy, Mr. Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, CII Trade Fairs Council & CII National Committee on R&D and Innovation, and Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Ashok Leyland, stated, “Infrastructure is the much needed stimulus to the Indian economy as it is an income multiplier and boosts job creation in both urban and rural India”.
The policy interventions in the MSME sector have been transformative and phenomenal, added Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General Confederation of Indian Industry.