Amid growing public outcry over corruption, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday called for complete transparency in awarding of the highway projects to eliminate the possibility of favouratism or crony capitalism.
"It is necessary to demonstrate that the award, construction and operation of these (highways) projects is based on a fair and transparent approach which eliminates any suspicion of favouratism or what might be described as crony capitalism," Singh said at the conference of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in National Highways.
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The government is envisaging an investment of $1 trillion in infrastructure sector during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), up from $500 million in the current Plan.
The emphasis on transparency in road projects comes on the heels of social activist Anna Hazare staging a hunger strike in the capital to press for Jan Lokpal Bill. Hazare's struggle against corruption drew support from large sections of people across the country.
For large road building programme, Singh said: "Efficiency, economy, competition and transparency are vital touchstones that should be used for judging our level of success. These are especially important when we deal with the private sector."
"We must remember that these are public projects where public interest must be foremost in our mind...it goes without saying that it seems a very challenging task, but I am convinced that our economy has the resilience to live up to challenges that lie ahead", he added.
Moreover, Singh said, high level of investment in infrastructure sector was one of the important preconditions for achieving 9 per cent economic growth target during the 12th Plan, up from 8.2 per cent in the current Plan.