PM's infrastructure plan will be a non-starter: BJP

Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Jun 8: Claiming that the infrastructure development plan set out at a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will prove to be a "non-starter", the BJP on Friday said the government has no resource-mobilisation plan for the one trillion dollars needed for implementing these schemes.

"The much-hyped meeting for the infrastructure boost will prove a non-starter.... The Prime Minister stressed that one trillion dollars are required to be invested in the Indian infrastructure in near future... The relevant question for the Prime Minister is what is the resource-mobilisation plan?" BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar asked.

The Opposition pointed out that the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, was not present in the meeting which discussed multi-billion dollar projects and wondered how this could be done. "In a bizarre explanation, it was stated that his presence was not necessary," Javadekar said. He further maintained that even Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who is a Trinamool Congress MP, was not present in the meeting where several pending railway projects were discussed. The BJP was quick to term this as an indicator of the "fragile nature of this coalition government and complete absence of the Prime Minister's authority".

"Lack of political will, policy paralysis, policy flip-flops, indecision, contradictions within the Cabinet, contradictions between the ruling party and the government, coupled with the coalition contradictions are ruining any prospect of semblance of governance," Javadekar said. "The hallmark of UPA regime is that it has converted the low inflation-high growth economy inherited from the NDA into a high inflation-low growth economy," he added.

Alleging that inflation and corruption have gone up during the UPA rule, the BJP said growth rates and value of the Rupee have gone down.

The Opposition also said that government had initially made claims that the eurozone crisis and rising crude prices "hold no validity" in India. "India was tom-toming that the Indian economy is insulated and the crude prices are actually going down which are hovering around $90 per barrel," Javadekar said.

The BJP, instead, charged that bad growth mix, higher deficit and interest rates, declining savings and private investments, unproductive spending, slowdown in decision and approvals, delay in reforms are the reasons for the present Indian economic slow down.

Javadekar said while the UPA had claimed it would build 22 km of highways everyday, in reality it is not building even 5 km a day. The NHAI has no chairman for the past two years. Similarly, though the government promised it would generate 18,000 MW power, there are inadequate coal linkages and many hydro-projects are awaiting approval. "The 12th plan target is less than that of the 11th Plan," he said.

The opposition alleged that while government had announced it would build two ports in one year, its track record says that infrastructure in the port sector is not being utilised while funds continue to lapse. The rail projects are similarly stalled, Javadekar alleged.

"This is a fact-sheet of sluggish infrastructure growth. No big decision was taken in the said meeting and so there is no hope of progress on the charted course," Javadekar said.


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