Centre asks NE states to roll out infrastructure projects

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Shillong, May 23(UNI) The Centre today asked the NE state governments to roll out infrastructure projects that can be built up through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model to meet the infrastructure deficit in these states.

''Investment requirements are enormous and are not likely to be met from the public sector alone. The PPP route is the unavoidable option for closing the glaring infrastructure deficit that is visible across the country, including the North Eastern region,'' Additional Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs in Ministry of Finance, Sindhushree Khullar said.

Ms Khullar was addressing a penultimate workshop on ''States on Public Private Partnerships''. The workshop organised by Confederation of Indian Industry was aimed at acting as a catalyst in speeding the PPP process and bringing the attention to the state governments.

''The next 10 years will be critically important for India as it progresses towards becoming one of the largest economies in the world. The proposed plan spreading across railways, airports, roads, water and power are extensive and each area is already demonstrating a slow but steady progress,'' she said.

In fact, the Union Government is promoting airport, port and energy sector development through PPP and encouraging the states to go for state highways, urban infrastructure and rural roads through the mode. The Centre sanctioned 50 billion dollars infrastructure projects, of which the Centre contributed six billion dollars, Central PSUs 20 billion dolars, States USD 11 billion and private sector 11 billion dollars.

Ms Khullar also explained that the DEA has worked with the rating agencies to develop a framework for grading infrastructure projects that will help investors identify the risks involved in the project.

''A Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) needs to be created to implement infrastructure projects, it would be necessary to take into account the rating of the parent company while grading the project,'' she said, adding that this SPV will enable state gvernments to build a shelf of bankable projects in the infrastructure sector and attract private sector investment in these projects.

CII member Dr MI Barbaruah said India is lagging significantly behind the other East and South East Asian economies in its level of infrastructure spending as a proportion of GDP. He said China spent 10.6 per cent of GDP while India's capital spends on infrastructure was below four per cent in 2003.

''This disparity was even more stark in absolute figure terms, with China spending 150 billion dollars on infrastructure against India's 21 billion dollars,'' Dr Barbaruah said.

Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee, who delivered his key-note address, welcomed the private sectors investments under PPP in the infrastructure projects such as power, airports and roads.

''Meghalaya, being a landlocked, its trade and commerce are completely a function of the state of its road network and PPP projects in the road sector will help in catalysing the growth of the state,'' Mr Chatterjee said.

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