Investment on infrastructure needs to be doubled: Chidambaram

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Mumbai, Oct 29 (UNI) India needs to double the investment in infrastructure development over the next five years to keep pace with the current growth pattern, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today.

Speaking at the Indo-US CEO forum here today, Mr Cidambaram said, ''India needs to raise investment in infrastructure from the current level of five per cent of GDP to nine per cent of GDP over the next five years.'' He said these investments are required in various segments, including ports, airports, roads, power plants and railways. The investments will have to be increased considerably to sustain the high growth rate of over nine per cent targeted in the current fiscal.

Infrastructure investment in India, over a 50-year period, has been close to five per cent of GDP, Mr Chidambaram pointed out while ruing, ''The rate of investment in infrastructure is lagging behind GDP growth.'' The Finance Minister also said overseas borrowing for the development of infrastructure should be made more flexible, including relaxation of external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms.

He remarked that financing infrastructure is a major challenge.

''We have identified some initiatives that have to be taken. Firstly, we think that ECB norms for infrastructure must be made more flexible. Secondly, the pension and insurance funds should also invest more in infrastructure and for that its guidelines need to be revisited,'' the Finance Minister added.

UNI

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