India holds huge investment opportunities especially in its vibrant infrastructure sector where projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore are under implementation as part of the Rs 111 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said.
Gadkari, who also holds the MSME portfolio, said as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision focus was being laid on developing a world-class infrastructure under the NIP, which is first-of-its-kind exercise to bolster development.
He also termed the infrastructure sector as the "backbone of the economy" while addressing a roundtable on 'Investment into Roads, Ports and Highways, Waterways', organised by the industry body CII.
"National Infrastructure Pipeline envisages Rs 111 lakh crore investment on infrastructure projects by 2024-25... Of the Rs 111 lakh crore, projects worth Rs 44 lakh crore accounting for 40 per cent are under implementation... (and) projects worth Rs 22 lakh crore that account for 20 per cent of NIP are under development stages," the minister said.
Gadkari said the infrastructure sector is critical for propelling India's growth and enjoys intense focus of the government.
Framework of NIP includes 39 per cent investment by the Centre, 40 per cent by states and 21 per cent by the private sector, he added.
The minister said that under the programme, 25 lakh crore worth of investments are envisaged in the energy sector, 20 lakh crore in the highways sector, Rs 16 lakh crore in irrigation, rural agriculture and food processing, Rs 16 lakh crore each in mobility and railways and Rs 14 lakh crore on digital infra among others.
Talking about the highways sector, Gadkari said it has huge potential and the toll income was slated to reach Rs 1 lakh crore in five years from Rs 34,000 crore this year and added that it holds lucrative investment opportunities given 100 per cent FDI permitted in the sector.
He said that the government has ensured minimising risk to the private sector through various policy initiatives and has introduced low risk models like hybrid annuity model for the sector.
The minister said that a target of investments to the tune of Rs 15 lakh crore has been set for the sector for the next two-three years.
The Rs 1 lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai express corridor spanning 1,300 km is likely to be completed in the next two years with 50 per cent of the project already completed, while two more express highway projects worth Rs 65,000 crore will be launched in the next month, he said.
Talking about the MSME sector, the minister said it has big role in redefining the Indian economy and the target is to take exports to 60 per cent from 48 per cent at present.
He said 5 crore new jobs were planned in the sector in the next five years while 11 crore jobs have already been created.
Terming India as a global destination for investments, he said focus was also on ethanol production to help farmers.