Public sector as venture capitalist can propel infra sector;Jairam

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New Delhi, Dec 21 (UNI) Suggesting an innovative role for state-owned companies in the infrastructure sector, Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has suggested that public sector can take on the role of a venture capitalist, establish infrastructure, trigger economic activity and then exit.

But to achieve the objective, government agencies should be given the flexibility to enter into alliances with private companies for construction and management, he said at the National institute of Rural Development (NIRD) over the weekend.

Stating that infrastructure holds the key to improving economic prospects of laggard states, the Minister, however, said "Like inclusive growth, PPP(public private partnership) has also become a mantra of sorts, seen as a panacea for our infrastructure needs." He said for him PPP model meant private funds for public projects and not vice versa as many private sector companies seemed to think.

He said there could be areas where private resources could be mobilised but he said he saw no alternative to public provision of infrastructure in the poorer and backward states. "To expect that PPP will have any takers in the Northeast is the height of folly," he added.

While speaking on the theme of "Regional Growth in India: Disparities or Despairities," Mr Jairam Ramesh said there was simply no other option but for the Central government to take on the primary responsibility for building infrastructure.

"Transfers of resources from the Centre to states is an important component of the strategy to reduce inter-state disparities." Envisaging a new model for government involvement, he suggested that "public sector can take on the role of a venture capitalist, establish infrastructure, trigger economic activity and then exit." UNI

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