Skip to comments.Will India's highways project be path to growth?
Posted on 04/22/2010 6:09:27 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
As India aspires to a double digit annual economic growth, infrastructure development is the new priority.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh has underscored the need to double infrastructure spending from $500bn (£325bn) to $1 trillion in the next five-year plan if the country plans to lift millions out of poverty.
Roads and highways are a particular focus of attention and the government's high-profile highways minister Kamal Nath has set himself a tough target of 20km of roads a day from June, meaning 7,000km a year and 20,000km of work in progress.
It could easily be the biggest and the most ambitious infrastructure roll-outs in the world today.
The need for funds, land and expertise will be enormous - the history of investor-unfriendly rules will not make the task easier either.
Mr Nath has sold the dream, can he pull it off?
"It was a well thought out target. If we want the project to have an impact, it cannot be less than 20km a day,'' Kamal Nath told the BBC in an exclusive interview.
He said the target is "ambitious but can be achieved".
Economists hold India's creaking infrastructure as the main impediment to its growth and a big hurdle in closing the gap with its neighbour China.
And roads in particular have a critical role to play in the growth story.
Roads carrying two-thirds of cargo are plagued by irregular surfaces and potholes.
National highways account for just 2.2% of roadways but carry more than 40% of traffic in India. What's more, a fifth of these major roads are just one lane.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
Getting rid of the caste system would help....not to mention cows roaming all over the place.
meanwhile Ray Lahood wants Americans commuting to work on unicycles down sustainable garden paths
With the exception of a short period of time when the BJP regained power (and was swiftly repudiated by the business community), the socialist ideology that formed much of India's business and political agenda since independance has fallen largely out of favour.
Bottom line is that there are definitely problems at all levels that need to be worked out, but I think they are on the right path.
It’s been constitutionally illegal since 1947. It’s like trying to “ban” racism.
Caste system is banned per the Indian Constitution. Unfortunately, you can’t change social attitudes, especially in rural areas. I should point out, btw, that most of the new rich in India (such as Dhirubhai Ambani, one of the wealthiest men in the world) are NOT from the upper castes.
Not really. The swift improvements in the business climate were not matched by the rural reforms and the BJP lost. Businesses still prefer the friendliness of the BJP policies. The congress spells inflation, high taxes and hugely increased paperwork - ie, corruption.